The FBI has named Dylann Storm Roof, 21, of Columbia, South Carolina, as the suspected killer of nine people at a black church in Charleston, the Daily Beast reports. Roof was previously arrested on April 26 on a trespassing charge and was awaiting moderation. Roof was also recently arrested for possession of a controlled substance on March 3 in Lexington County. A sparse Facebook page shows an image of Roof in a jacket with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
Another Facebook photo of Roof sitting on the roof of his car shows a vanity license plate with a Confederate flag on it.
Roof’s father gave him a .45-caliber pistol for his birthday, according to uncle Charles Cowles. The uncle said he recognized Roof from the police photo and “described him as quiet and soft-spoken,” according to Reuters.
John Mullins, who went to high school with Roof, told The Daily Beast that he remembers him as being “kind of wild.”
“He used drugs heavily a lot,” Mullins said. “It obviously harder than marijuana. He was like a pill popper, from what I understood. Like Xanax, and stuff like that.”
White Knoll High School had a mix of black and white students. Mullins says they occasionally mixed, and the school had “a lot of preps, a little bit of gang members, and a lot of outcasts.” But Roof wasn’t one of the outcasts, Mullins said.
Nor did Roof make a habit of spouting racist messages.
“I never heard him say anything, but just he had that kind of Southern pride, I guess some would say. Strong conservative beliefs,” he said. “He made a lot of racist jokes, but you don’t really take them seriously like that. You don’t really think of it like that.”
But now, “the things he said were kind of not joking,” Mullins added.
Many of Roof’s Facebook friends, including those from his high school, are black. The cousin of the church’s pastor who was killed quoted a survivor who said Roof told the church: “I have to do it. You’re [abusing] our women and taking over the country. You have to go.”