Dylann Roof attempted suicide after he allegedly shot and killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Wednesday night, the son of one of the shooting’s victims said Saturday. Roof, who remained in police custody Sunday, faces nine murder charges and one weapon charge in connection with the attack.
“He pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger, but it went ‘click,’ ” Kevin Singleton, whose 59-year-old mother, Myra Thompson, died in the shooting, told the Los Angeles Times. He said he learned of Roof’s suicide attempt from Polly Sheppard, 69, who survived the attack. "His plan was to never leave that church," Singleton added.
Roof originally targeted Rev. Clementa Pinckney but turned his attention to other churchgoers after Rev. Daniel Simmons confronted him, Singleton said. Both Pinckney and Simmons died in the shooting. Roof purportedly told Sheppard he spared her so she could explain what had happened.
Police captured Roof on a stretch of highway in Shelby, North Carolina, Thursday morning. Authorities refused to say if they had discovered a weapon in Roof’s car or to confirm what sort of firearm was used in the shooting. Once in custody, Roof purportedly confessed to the shooting, various reports said.
Law enforcement officials confirmed Saturday that Roof authored a racist manifesto that discussed his negative feelings toward the black community and Jews, the Washington Post reports. “I have no choice,” Roof wrote. “I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is [the] most historic city in my state and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country.”
Roof made his first appearance in court Friday afternoon, where Charleston County Magistrate James B. Gosnell gave formal notice of the criminal charges against him. Gosnell set bond at $1 million for the weapons charge, but was legally unable to set bond on the murder charges. Even if Roof raised the $1 million, he would not be able to secure release since bond was not set on the murder charges.