Dylann Storm Roof, the Charleston church shooting suspect, has been captured. The 21-year-old was taken into custody during a traffic stop in Shelby, N.C., almost 250 miles from where the shooting occurred.
Charleston mayor: I am pleased to announce that we have made an arrest in this case…approx 30 mins ago during traffic stop in Shelby, NC— Charlie Kaye (@CharlieKayeCBS) June 18, 2015
On what is believed to be Roof’s publicly available Facebook profile (Update: The page appears to have been pulled), there is only one picture. In the photo Roof is standing in a swamp and wearing a black jacket with two flag patches on the right breast. According to David Weigel of Bloomberg News:
The top flag was used by South Africa from 1928 to 1994, until the coming of black suffrage and the adoption of the country’s current “rainbow” flag. The bottom flag was used by Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe – from 1968 to 1979. They have one thing in common: They were the symbols of white minority regimes that oppressed their majority black populations.
Given that the motivation for the shooting is thought to have been racial, the patches certainly don’t help Roof in the court of public opinion. However, Roof’s profile also displays a list of his Facebook friends. For a guy who is sporting white-power flags, Roof appears to have a surprising number of African-American friends. At least one Facebook friend is using the attention to gain more Twitter followers.
Other friends have commented about being contacted by CBS News.
CBS News is reporting Roof has a felony drug case pending and was once charged with misdemeanor trespassing. Other than that, he has no criminal record in South Carolina.
CBS is also reporting that a friend of Roof’s, Joey Meek, alerted the FBI after recognizing his picture on the news. According to Meek’s mother, Roof had recently worn the same sweatshirt seen in surveillance photos while playing video games with her son.
Roof’s uncle, Carson Cowles, told Reuters that Roof’s father gave his son the gun that was used in the attack as a 21st birthday present. He also said the attack was a complete shock.
“Nobody in my family had seen anything like this coming,” Cowles told Reuters. “I said, ‘If it is him, and when they catch him, he’s got to pay for this.’”
While the attack may have come as a shock to Cowles, he went on to say that he had been worried about his nephew and discussed his concerns with Roof’s mother.
“I said he was like 19 years old, he still didn’t have a job, a driver’s license or anything like that, and he just stayed in his room a lot of the time,” Cowles said.
Jason Mathews is Internetting way too hard. Follow him at @jasonmathews316.