The shooter in the Charleston church massacre has been identified as 21-year-oldm Dylann Storm Roof.
The Lexington, S.C. native is suspected of killing nine people at theÂ Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston during a bible study on Wednesday night.
HeÂ was caught on surveillance camera and is described as a white male in his early 20s, 5 feet, 9 inches with brown hair. He was wearing blue jeans, a gray sweatshirt and Timberland boots.
According to reports, his uncle revealed he was recently given a .45 caliber gun by his father as a birthday gift.
Roof sat and prayed with the prayer group at the historic church for an hour before he open fired on them. Three men and six women were killed, including the churches’ pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney. There were three survivors including a 5-year-old boy who played dead.
Authorities have deemed the shooting a hate crime.
In an interview with NBC affiliate station WIS, a woman claiming to be Rev. Pinckneyâ€™s cousin relayed an account from a survivor in the room.
â€œShe said that he had reloaded five different times and her son was trying to talk him out of doing that, killing people, and he just said, â€˜I have to do itâ€™ and he said, â€˜You rape our women and youâ€™re taking over our country and you have to go,â€™â€ Pinckneyâ€™s cousin said.
There is a massive manhunt underway by the FBI and he reportedly fled in a black sedan identified as a black Hyundai with South Carolina tags LGF330.
John Mullins, one of Roof’s high schools classmates, described the shooter as “kind of wild” in an interview with The Daily Beast.
“He used drugs heavily a lotâ€¦ obviously harder than marijuana. He was like a pill popper, from what I understood. Like Xanax, and stuff like that,” he said.
“He made a lot of racist jokes, but you don’t really take them seriously like that. You don’t really think of it like that. I never heard him say anything, but just he had that kind of Southern pride, I guess some would say. Strong conservative beliefs.”