Charleston Police said Thursday the only suspect in the killing of nine people at a historically-black Charleston church has been arrested in Shelby, North Carolina.
Police Chief Greg Mullen said 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof was stopped by North Carolina Highway Patrol after receiving a tip about a driver behaving suspiciously. Roof grew up in Lexington. He is believed to be the only suspect in the killing of nine people at Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston. Among the dead is the church’s pastor and State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, D-Jasper.
Mullen said Roof did not resist arrest when he was stopped. He would not give further details on the arrest, citing the ongoing investigation.
Roof has a string of arrests this spring and has a pending drug possession charge after a February arrest, according to court records. He also has a trespassing conviction from April.
Columbia Police released incident reports of Roof’s cases to media outlets on Thursday. Both charges against Roof stemmed from two separate incidents at Columbiana Mall. A Columbia officer reported employees at a bath and body store had contacted mall security about Roof asking “out of the ordinary” questions, such as how many employees worked there and when they closed.
The officer wrote Roof said he was seeking a job, but had not requested any applications. The officer said Roof began acting increasingly nervous as the questioning continued. The officer eventually searched Roof with his consent and found an unlabeled bottle of suboxone (a prescription medication used for opiate addiction). After learning Roof did not have a prescription for the Schedule III narcotic, the officer arrested him. Court records show that charge is still pending.
Roof was also ordered to stay away from the mall, but he was arrested little more than a month later on a trespassing charge. In that case, another Columbia officer was called to the mall and spotted him in the parking lot. A municipal judge sentenced him to 12 days in jail and a $262 fine.
Police had identified Roof as the suspect less than hour before his arrest was announced. Officers had linked him to the shooting through security footage and a license tag.
Mullen said earlier on Thursday that Roof had sat through nearly an hour of the prayer service before opening fire.