View attachment 44702 Dylann Roof, accused of killing nine inside a black church, wore pro-apartheid flags, made a ‘lot of racist jokes,’ and was arrested with pain meds.
Police arrested Dylann Storm Roof hours after he allegedly killed nine people at a historic black church in Charleston. Roof, 21, is from Lexington, South Carolina, and was taken into custody in Shelby, North Carolina. At a press conference, Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said a citizen’s tip led police to Roof’s car. Mullen refused to comment on whether Roof admitted to the shooting but said the suspect was cooperative.
A sparse Facebook page, now taken down, showed an image of Roof apparently flaunting his belief in white supremacy by wearing a jacket with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and white-ruled Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), which fought a bitter civil war against black majority rule. Another Facebook photo of Roof sitting on the roof of his car showed an ornamental license plate with a Confederate flag on it. John Mullins, who went to high school with Roof, told The Daily Beast that he remembers him as being “kind of wild. He used drugs heavily a lot,” Mullins said. “It was obviously harder than marijuana. He was like a pill popper, from what I understood. Like Xanax, and stuff like that.”
White Knoll High School had a mix of black and white students. Mullins says they occasionally mixed, and the school had “a lot of preps, a little bit of gang members, and a lot of outcasts.” But Roof wasn’t one of the outcasts, Mullins said. Yet Roof did have a reputation for spouting racist messages.
“I never heard him say anything, but just he had that kind of Southern pride, I guess some would say. Strong conservative beliefs,” 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.” But now, “the things he said were kind of not joking,” Mullins added.
The New York Times reported that Roof left White Knoll High School in February 2010 after repeating the ninth grade. He transferred to Dreher High School in Columbia but there is no record of him finishing school. Five years later, he still appeared to have no full-time job.
On February 28, Roof was arrested for drug possession at a mall in Columbia, he was searched by officers after storekeepers complained that he was acting unusually and asking questions about opening hours and the number of staff on the premises. The Wall Street Journal reports a police incident report said Roof was found to have strips of Suboxone, a pain drug sometimes used to treat opiate addiction. He did not have a prescription for the drug, which is commonly sold illegally on the street.
He was banned from the mall for three years and out on bond waiting for the courts to process his felony drug possession charges when he was arrested in the parking lot of the same mall two months later. He was charged with trespassing on April 26, he was found guilty on that charge a month later and fined $262.50.
Joseph Meek Jr. told the Associated Press that he and Roof were best friends in middle school, then reconnected a few weeks ago when Roof reached out to Meek on Facebook. Meek says Roof had begun ranting about the murders of Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray and saying that black people were “taking over the world.”
“He said blacks were taking over the world. Someone needed to do something about it for the white race,” Meek said. “He said he wanted segregation between whites and blacks. I said, ‘That’s not the way it should be.' But he kept talking about it.”
Meek said they had spent time drinking—Roof drank vodka and water—and hanging out in strip bars. His old friend said his behaviour had become erratic in recent weeks, he sometimes slept in his car and he talked about burning an American flag and getting a neck tattoo with the word "dagger." Roommate Dalton Tyler told ABC News that Roof 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.”
Christon Scriven, a friend from a trailer park in Lexington, South Carolina, where Roof was a regular visitor, told the New York Daily News that the alleged gunman had outlined his horrific plans last week.
"He flat out told us he was going to do this stuff," said Scriven, who is black. "He was looking to kill a bunch of people.”
Scriven said he and their other friends assumed he had been joking. “He’s weird. You don’t know when to take him seriously and when not to,” he said. A woman who claimed to be the mother of Roof's former stepmother told the Journal he began to change in recent years.
“He apparently told people that he was involved in groups, racist groups,” she said, adding that he stopped going to high school. He turned into a loner in the last couple of years and no one knew why,” she said. “He just fell off the grid somehow.”
Another high school classmate told The Daily Beast that Roof was a nondescript student. “A lot of people don’t remember seeing him,” Adam Martin said. “I had classes with him, [which] is why I remember him.”
But Martin added that he doesn’t believe Roof was bullied at the high school. It wasn’t like he got picked on. The school we went to...is so diverse he just couldn’t have gotten picked on,” he said. “Everyone is so different.”
Roof’s father gave him a .45-caliber pistol for his birthday, according to uncle Charles Cowles. The uncle said he recognized Roof from the police photo and “described him as quiet and soft-spoken,” according to Reuters. He told The Washington Post that his sister "never raised him to be like this. I'd be the executioner myself if they would allow it," Cowles added.
Roof’s sister, Amber, was the one who notified the police after seeing surveillance footage of her brother on the news, the Post reported. Amber Roof had planned to get married Sunday, the paper reported, and her fiancé, Michael Tyo, lives just three miles from where Dylann Roof was arrested Thursday in Shelby, North Carolina. Many of Roof’s Facebook friends, including those from his high school, are black. Another high school friend, Antonio Metze, told the AP that Roof “had black friends.” Yet the cousin of the church’s pastor—who was killed—quoted a survivor who said Roof told the church: “I have to do it. You’re raping our women and taking over the country. You have to go.”
By Katie Zavadski - The Daily Beast/June 19, 2015
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Alleged "Pill-Popping" Misanthrope Dylann Roof Kills 9 in Historic Charleston Church