UPDATE: Suspect in deadly S. Carolina church shooting caught - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Suspect in deadly S. Carolina church shooting caught

Posted: Updated:
Dylann Roof, 21 Dylann Roof, 21
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Police in North Carolina have captured a suspect wanted on charges of shooting and killing nine people worshipping at a church in South Carolina.

Dylann Roof, 21, was captured in Shelby, North Carolina, on Thursday morning.

Roof was wanted as a suspect in the deadly mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, a historic black church.

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A Justice Department spokesman says federal officials are opening a hate crime investigation into the fatal shooting of nine people at a historic black church in South Carolina.

The spokesman said Thursday that the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of South Carolina are opening the investigation into the Wednesday night shooting.

The spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity. The official was not authorized to be quoted by name because the federal investigation has not been announced.

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A white man opened fire during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston on Wednesday night, killing nine people in an assault that authorities described as a hate crime.

The shooter remained at large Thursday morning.

Police Chief Greg Mullen said he believed the attack at the Emanuel AME Church was a hate crime, and police were looking for a white male in his early 20s.

"The only reason that someone could walk into a church and shoot people praying is out of hate," said Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley. "It is the most dastardly act that one could possibly imagine, and we will bring that person to justice. ... This is one hateful person."

The attack came two months after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, by a white police officer in neighboring North Charleston that sparked major protests and highlighted racial tensions in the area.

The officer has been charged with murder, and prompted South Carolina lawmakers to push through a bill helping all police agencies in the state get body cameras.

In a statement, Gov. Nikki Haley asked South Carolinians to pray for the victims and their families and decried violence on religious places.

"While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another," Haley said.Soon after Wednesday night's shooting, a group of pastors huddled together praying in a circle across the street.

Community organizer Christopher Cason said he felt certain the shootings were racially motivated.

"I am very tired of people telling me that I don't have the right to be angry," Cason said. "I am very angry right now."

Even before Scott's shooting in April, Cason said he had been part of a group meeting with police and local leaders to try to shore up better relationships.

The Emmanuel AME church is a historic African-American church that traces its roots to 1816, when several churches split from Charleston's Methodist Episcopal church.

One of its founders, Denmark Vesey, tried to organize a slave revolt in 1822. He was caught, and white landowners had his church burned in revenge. Parishioners worshipped underground until after the Civil War.

The church's current pastor is state Sen. Clementa Pinckney. Mullen would not say whether Pinckney was inside the church at the time of the shooting.

Mullen said there were some survivors, but he didn't say how many.

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