MUST READ: WHY CHARLESTON’S CHURCH MASSACRE IS AN ACT OF TERRORISM
Dylann Roof’s roommate says the suspect was planning something big leading up to the alleged shooting at a South Carolina church Wednesday that left nine people dead.
Dalton Tyler told ABC News that he’d known Roof for at least seven months, and that the 21-year-old was “planning something like that for six months.”
“He was big into segregation and other stuff,” Tyler said. “He said he wanted to start a civil war. He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself.”
Tyler said he met Roof, a Lexington, South Carolina native, through a good friend. He also said Roof’s parents, with whom he said the suspect was “on and off,” had previously bought him a gun but never allowed him to take it with him until this past week.
Many of Roof’s family members have repeatedly declined to comment on the 21-year-old suspect, but his friends, previous police reports and his uncle have painted a picture of a shut-in with no job and plenty of anger.
His uncle, Carson Cowles, recalled telling his sister, the suspect’s mother, several years ago that he thought Roof was too introverted, and described his nephew as “quiet, soft-spoken boy.”
“I said he was like 19 years old, he still didn’t have a job, a driver’s license or anything like that and he just stayed in his room a lot of the time,” Cowles said in a telephone interview with Reuters.
One of his friends, Derrick “D-Gutta” Pearson, wrote on his own Facebook page on Thursday morning that he was “wondering why I woke up to 15 friend requests,” adding that he didn’t know where Roof was.
Pearson warned people to stay away from Roof if they saw him, writing that it was “obvious lives do not matter to him.” Pearson also published a photo that appeared to show Roof sitting on the hood of a black car with a license plate that says “Confederate States of America”, a reference to the pro-slavery forces from the U.S. Civil War.
Another Facebook photo being widely circulated shows Roof wearing a jacket with an apartheid-era flag of South Africa, and another of Rhodesia, which was previously a white-ruled country before it became Zimbabwe, NPR reports.
A childhood friend with whom Roof had recently become reacquainted said Roof started railing about the Trayvon Martin case in recent weeks, complaining about black people “taking over the world” and about the need for someone to do something about it for the sake of “the white race.”
Roof was previously arrested on Feb. 28 at a Columbia, SC mall, where he “was wearing all black and rattling employees at two stores with unusual questions about staffing and operating hours,” the Wall Street Journal reports. He had Suboxone, a narcotic, on him at the time of his arrest.
Roof was captured the day after the church shooting at a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina, about 250 miles north of Charleston. He waived extradition and will be flown back to South Carolina where he’ll face pending charges.