Update, 11:33 a.m. The New York Times’ Nick Corasaniti reports that alleged Charleston shooter Dylann Roof has been taken into custody. And Slate commenter Overgrip notes that the second patch in Roof’s Facebook profile photo appears to be the one-time flag of Rhodesia, the name for the internationally unrecognized nation that would become Zimbabwe and was governed by a white minority prior to that government’s overthrow.
Original post, 10:57 a.m. The FBI have identified the suspected shooter in last night’s horrific attack on the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston as 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof, according to Reuters.
Roof was still at large on Thursday morning after allegedly opening fire at a church meeting on Wednesday night and killing at least nine. According to Roof’s Facebook page, he is from Columbia, South Carolina and went to high school at White Knoll High School in Lexington.
Roof’s Facebook profile photo, which was changed on May 21, features him in a wooded scene wearing a jacket with multiple patches, one of which appears to be the flag of Apartheid-era South Africa.
On Wednesday night, officials were already calling the shooting a hate crime and one church member described hearing that the shooter had used racially charged language during the attack: “He just said ‘I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go,’” said Sylvia Johnson—the cousin of one of the reported victims, South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney—recounting a description of one of the survivors.
Aside from the photo, there isn’t much on the public portion of Roof’s Facebook page. His apparent MySpace page is even more cryptic, featuring just a photo of a dog and a Sunkist can and the following song from the Christian metal band A Thousand Times Repent.
Reuters is also reporting that an uncle of Roof says his father gave him a 45-caliber pistol for his 21stbirthday in April. The local NBC affiliate WIS reports that Roof was arrested in Lexington County on drug charges in March.