According to the NYTimes, CHARLESTON, S.C. — The gunman wanted in the killing of nine people at a prayer meeting at a historic black church in this city’s downtown area was taken into custody Thursday morning in North Carolina.
Charleston’s police chief, Greg Mullen, said the suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, 21, had been caught about 200 miles away, in Shelby, N.C., a town west of Charlotte. His arrest came about 14 hours after the shooting.
The police here have said Mr. Roof, who is from the Columbia, S.C., area, is the white gunman who walked into a prayer meeting, sat down with black parishioners for nearly an hour, and then opened fire — a burst of violence that officials described as racially motivated.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the F.B.I., and the United States Attorney’s Office for South Carolina opened a hate crime investigation into the shooting, parallel to the state and local investigation, a department official said. Chief Mullen called the shooting, which left six women and three men dead, a hate crime.
Chief Mullen said that Mr. Roof was located after a resident alerted police to a suspicious vehicle. Mr. Roof did not offer any resistance, the police chief said.
Mr. Roof’s Facebook profile picture shows him wearing a jacket decorated with the flags of two former white supremacist regimes, in apartheid-era South Africa and in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
The gunman walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church after 8 p.m., and the first call to police came shortly after 9 p.m. Among the dead was the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, pastor of the church, who was also a state senator.
Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of Mr. Pinckney, told NBC News that she had spoken with a survivor of the shooting who told her the gunman reloaded five times. The survivor, she said, told her that the gunman had entered the church and asked for the pastor. Then he sat next to Mr. Pinckney during the Bible study before opening fire.
“I have to do it,” the gunman was quoted as saying. “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”
Calling the shooting the work of “a hateful and deranged mind,” Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said it was hard to imagine churchgoers at “a prayer service and a Bible service, and they’re speaking about the Holy Scriptures and praying,” while someone is “sitting there contemplating the act of murder.”
Eight people died at the scene, Chief Mullen said. One person died on the way to the Medical University of South Carolina.
The police released pictures from surveillance footage of the man who is believed to be the gunman, and the police said he had been seen leaving the church in a black, four-door sedan that was also captured on video.
“We are leaving no stone unturned,” Chief Mullen said. He would not say what type of gun was used in the shooting.
City officials did not release information about the victims and did not say how many people were in the church during the shooting. Hospital officials declined to comment, but family and friends were being directed to an assistance center near the church
“He was called to the ministry when he was 13, ordained at 18, elected to the House at 23 and the Senate at 27,” Mr. Rutherford said. “He was a man driven by public service.”
State Senator Lawrence K. Grooms said Mr. Pinckney had had “a voice you could pick out of a crowd, a booming voice.”
“He was my friend, he was my colleague, but he was also my brother in Christ,” said Senator Grooms, who drove down from the Statehouse as soon as he heard the news last night.