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Charlotte Area News

Charleston Shooting Suspect Captured In Shelby


Dylann Storm Roof, 21, of Columbia, the suspect in the mass shooting at a Charleston church Wednesday night, was arrested near Shelby Thursday morning.

Roof remained in custody of Shelby police as of noon Thursday. A police spokeswoman said at 11:30 a.m. that no press conference has been scheduled.

Capt. Joel Shores of the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department said Roof was arrested at U.S. 74 and Plato-Lee Road, west of the city and not far from Gardner-Webb University. He says he was told that another driver pulled behind the car and called in a tip.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Columbia says attorneys there are working with the FBI and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department in an “active hate crime investigation,” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Drake told the Observer.

Why Roof was traveling through Shelby this morning was not clear. U.S. 74, the main drag through the city, is a popular route to the foothills and mountains of western North Carolina.

According to Roof’s Facebook page, Roof attended White Knoll High School in Lexington.

Roof was charged with first-offense drug possession in Lexington County in March, according to court records. The case status is listed as pending.

The president of Allen University in Columbia confirmed that another of its alumni, in addition to state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, is among the victims killed in the Charleston church shooting.

A statement from university president Lady June Cole names Tywanza Sanders as one of the deceased. He was a 2014 Allen graduate in business administration.

“He was a quiet, well-known student who was committed to his education,” Cole said. “He presented a warm and helpful spirit as he interacted with his colleagues. Mr. Sanders was participating in the Bible Study session at Mother Emanuel church at the time of the shooting.”

Cole described Sanders as an outgoing student with an “inkling toward entrepreneurship.”

“We’re in mourning and we are praying for the families of the victims,” Cole said. “We hope that everyone will just respect their loss as well.”

Nine people died following a shooting at a downtown AME church in Charleston Wednesday night. An active search for the suspect continued overnight in Charleston following a shooting during Wednesday services at the downtown Emmanuel AME church.

Among the reported dead is state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who was a pastor at Emanual AME. People mourned for the dead and prayed for Charleston to heal.