Charleston church shooting: Here's what we do and do not know

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Thursday 18 June 2015 09:50
news

The suspect who shot nine people dead in a suspected "hate crime" at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, has been caught by police.

The shooter, named earlier as Dylann Roof, was described as "extremely dangerous" by Charleston police chief Greg Mullen at a press conference on Thursday morning.

Here’s what we know:

  • Six women and three men were killed

  • The shooting happened at around 9pm local time on Wednesday at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

  • Emanuel is one of the town's "oldest and best-known black churches"

  • The shooter, a white male, was at large for more at least 14 hours before being arrested in Shelby, North Carolina

  • The attacker spent around an hour at a Bible meeting in the church before the attack, police confirmed

  • Police earlier described the shooter as a clean-shaven white man, approximately 21-years-old wearing a grey sweatshirt, blue jeans and Timberland-style boots

  • Charleston police chief Greg Mullen has said the shooting is being investigated as a hate crime

  • Eight people died at the scene while two were taken to hospital with one dying on the way

  • Clementa Pinckney, a South Carolina state senator who is also the church’s pastor, is among the victims

  • Three people in the church survived

  • Martin Luther King held a meeting at the “historic African-American” church in 1962

  • Jeb Bush, who is running to be the Republican presidential candidate, cancelled an event due to be held in the town later on Thursday

What else has been reported:

  • Dylann Roof, who has been named as the shooter by local media, was said to have been in police custody for trespassing less than two months ago

  • An image from Roof's Facebook page have been shared widely which show him wearing a jacket sporting the apartheid-era South African and Rhodesian flags

  • The shooter allowed one woman to live "so she could tell everyone else what happened," Dot Scott, president of the Charleston NAACP, told the Post and Courier

  • "It is unfathomable that somebody in today’s society would walk into a church while they are having a prayer meeting and take their lives" police chief Greg Mullen told reporters

  • The New York Times reports that journalists and passers-by were prevented from approaching the church because of a “bomb threat” in the immediate aftermath of the shooting

  • “It’s obvious that it’s race,” said Tory Fields, a member of the Charleston County Ministers Conference. “What else could it be? You’ve got a white guy going into an African-American church. That’s choice. He chose to go into that church and harm those people. That’s choice.”

What we don’t know

  • The confirmed identity of the killer

  • The killer's motives

  • The identity of the victims - police chief Greg Mullen said the local coroner will confirm them in due course

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