(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Police have released new chilling details about the massacre at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in June and the day that Dylann Roof, the suspect, allegedly shot and killed nine people inside the historic, predominantly black, Mother Emanuel Church.
In more than 350 case documents, much of which has redacted portions, authorities in Charleston as well as Shelby, North Carolina, described the aftermath of the June 17 shooting and the lead-up to Roof’s June 18 arrest.
According to a Charleston police affidavit, Roof joined parishioners as they were having Bible study.
“After approximately an hour of studying, the defendant stood up … pulled out a handgun and began shooting the parishioners inside the hall, striking nine victims,” the document said. Victims were shot multiple times, the affidavit said.
According to the document, police began receiving phone calls about the shooting at 9:05 p.m., some from inside the church. At 9:07 p.m., dispatchers received a call that included a description of the shooter.
A “young white male. Male is reloading,” one caller said of the shooter, according to the document.
Minutes later, at 9:09 p.m., authorities learned that there were witnesses still alive, including some in the church who were hiding under a desk in the pastor’s office.
According to Charleston police documents, Roof also stood over an unnamed witness “and uttered a racially inflammatory statement.”
At 9:11 p.m., according to the newly released logs, the massacre was over and the shooter was on the run. Eight people had been killed and another would die shortly after. There were just two survivors.
Documents said that Roof was positively identified by his father as well as his uncle. The two men reportedly contacted Charleston police, according to authorities, after they recognized Roof and his car in photographs that had been taken from surveillance video and then released to the public.
Charleston authorities also said that they’d received numerous calls from people who said they believed the suspect of the shootings was Roof.
In one instance, around 6 a.m. on June 18, the day after the shooting, a police report said that a person had called to report that he’d seen the press release of the suspected shooter and was “positive” that it was someone he knew and had been “hanging out with.” That person also said that Roof drove a vehicle with a Confederate flag vanity license plate tag on the front bumper.
The police document said that the person was “adamant that he was very familiar” with the suspected shooter and that the shooter lived in Ridgecrest, an area in Lexington, South Carolina.
In addition, according to police reports from Shelby, when officers came upon Roof’s car — a 2000 Hyundai Elantra GLS — they searched him and told him “he was not under arrest … and that he was just being detained.”
They said when they asked him whether he knew what the detainment was about, he nodded “yes,” according to a police report, which also noted that Roof told officers that there was a gun in the back seat.
According to the Charleston Post and Courier, the release of the documents came after an Oct. 14 decision by a circuit judge to lift parts of a gag order on information related to the shootings.
Roof’s trial is set to begin on July 11, 2016.
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