Charleston Church Shooting: Questions Around Suspect Dylann Roof

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CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (CNN) — Dylann Roof has confessed to authorities to shooting and killing nine people this week at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, two law enforcement officials said Friday.

One of the officials said that Roof, who is white, told investigators that he wanted to start a race war.

He himself bought the .45-caliber handgun used in the shooting last April at a Charleston gun store, according to the two officials. Earlier, a senior law enforcement official had indicated that Roof’s father bought him a Glock firearm for his birthday.

Shortly after he turned 21 in April, Dylann Roof got a gun. What’s unclear is how.

What may be getting clearer is why.

A senior law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told CNN that Roof’s father bought him a .45-caliber Glock handgun for his birthday.

His grandfather says Roof was given “birthday money” and that the family didn’t know what Roof did with it.

However he got the gun, police say it was Roof, a white man, who opened fire at a prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine African-Americans.

It’s not known whether that handgun was used when Roof allegedly opened fire Wednesday night.

But as he awaits a bond hearing possibly Friday, that’s one of the many threads investigators are pursuing.

The question of why
The other thread is why.

It’s not so much why Roof allegedly did what he did. Authorities say he apparently was motivated by hate, telling the African-American congregants, “You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country.”

It’s more how the shooting came to be, and the events that precipitated it.

Roof’s roommate, Joey Meek, told ABC News that Roof “was big into segregation,” and was plotting for six months.

“I think he wanted something big like Trayvon Martin,” Meek told the network. “He wanted to make something spark up the race war again.”

But Meek never alerted authorities.

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