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Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof arrested: police

The 21-year-old white gunman suspected of killing nine people at a black church in the southeastern U.S. city of Charleston was arrested Thursday

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The 21-year-old white gunman suspected of killing nine people at a black church in the southeastern U.S. city of Charleston was arrested Thursday, police chief Gregory Mullen announced.

Dylann Roof was taken into custody during a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina, about a four-hour drive from the scene of the mass shooting, Mullen told reporters.

The police chief said Charleston city detectives were preparing to fly to Shelby to interview Roof about what he called a “tragic, heinous crime.”

The Charleston police department said shooting was a hate crime, AFP reported.

 suspect is arrested as police respond to a shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina June 17, 2015. (Reuters)
suspect is arrested as police respond to a shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina June 17, 2015. (Reuters)



Local network ABC4 News earlier said police were also investigating a possible bomb threat.

“(My family) and I are praying for the victims and families touched by tonight's senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME Church,” South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said in a statement.

“While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another.”

“It's really bad. It's a very bad scene,” local pastor Thomas Dixon was quoted by CNN as saying.

Lisa Doctor joins a prayer circle down the street from the Emanuel AME Church early Thursday, June 18, 2015 following a shooting Wednesday night in Charleston, S.C. (AP)
Lisa Doctor joins a prayer circle down the street from the Emanuel AME Church early Thursday, June 18, 2015 following a shooting Wednesday night in Charleston, S.C. (AP)

“Apparently the person just entered the church and opened fire. That part has not been fully articulated on what happened yet ... they are still looking for the suspect.”

The shooting happened at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. According to its website, it is the oldest such church in the U.S. south.