As the nation reels from news of the senseless murder of church parishioners during bible study inÂ Charleston, South Carolina new details are emerging surrounding the shooter’s deadly motive.
AÂ whiteÂ male in his early 20s, now identified as Dylann Storm Roof, attended bible study atÂ Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church wednesday night with malice in his heart. After listening for nearly anÂ hour he then reportedly opened fire on the participants,Â reloading five timesÂ and killing nine.
NAACP President Dot Scott toldÂ CNNÂ that one of the womenÂ who survived the shooting says the gunman told herÂ he was letting her live so that she could tell people what happened. A 5-year-old boy reportedly survived the massacre by playing dead.
TheÂ shooterÂ was caught on surveillance camera and is described as a white male in his early 20s,Â 5 feet, 9 inches with brown hair. He was wearing blue jeans, a gray sweatshirt and Timberland boots.
According toÂ MSNBC, the shooter shared his motive while carrying out the attack:
In an interview with NBC affiliate station WIS, a woman claiming to be 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.
The suspect was in the church for nearly an hour, according to police. He asked who the pastor of the church was, and sat next to him.
A massive manhunt is underway for Dylann Storm RoofÂ in South Carolina after a horrific massacre occurred at a historic Black church.Â Charleston chief of police GregÂ Mullen has already labeled this horrific act a hate crime.Â â€œThis is an all-hands-on-deck effort with the community as well as law enforcement,â€ Mullen said in an interview with local media. â€œWhen people go out, they should be vigilant, they should be aware of their surroundings. And if they see anything suspicious, they should call law enforcement.â€
Police were reportedly seen at his mother’s house, his uncle told Reuters, adding that he recognized the man as his nephew. “The more I look at him, the more I’m convinced, that’s him,” Carson Cowles, 56, told the news service in an interview. Cowles described Roof as “quiet and soft-spoken” and said his father recently gave the suspect a .45-caliber gun as a birthday gift, Reuters said.