The family of Dylann Storm Roof, the 21-year-old suspect of Wednesday’s deadly church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, released a statement Friday evening concerning the tragic event. The emailed statement, tweeted by CNN, focused on extending sympathies to the victims and “all those impacted.”
The remarks also highlighted the family’s personal grief and identified their own confusion. “Words cannot express our shock, grief, and disbelief as to what happened that night,” the family wrote. The 171-word statement used “prayers” three times. The end of the letter issued a request for media to contact the family’s attorney Boyd Young.
Police in Charleston Thursday identified Roof as the main suspect. Authorities arrested Roof at 11:15 a.m. EDT Thursday in Shelby, North Carolina. Roof’s bail was set at $1 million, and he was charged with nine counts, both of murder and of possession of a weapon. Roof did not issue a plea.
During that bail hearing, the presiding judge, James Gosnell Jr., chief magistrate of Charleston County, requested that the community support not only the victims of the shooting but also the shooter’s family. He also referred to the Roof family as victims.
“We have victims -- nine of them. But we also have victims on the other side,” he said in the opening of the event. “We must find it in our heart at some point in time not only to help those that are victims but to also help his family as well.”
That picture of the Roof family as victims did not sit well with listeners online:
WTF is up with that judge?! We don't KNOW if his parents are victims! We KNOW this 9 people, the survivors & their families are! #Charleston
â€” June (@211Pine) June 19, 2015
Where does the judge get off saying that the terrorist's family are victims too? Were we that sympathetic to Tsarnaev's family? #Charleston
— J.C. Martinez (@Laidbackandloud) June 19, 2015
The Charleston Judge's statement that Dylann Roof's family members also are victims is a false equivalence and dishonors the real victims.
— Erika Harold (@_ErikaHarold) June 19, 2015
Here is the full statement from the Roof family:
The Roof Family would like to extend their deepest sympathies and condolences to families of the victims in Wednesday night’s shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Words cannot express our shock, grief, and disbelief as to what happened that night. We are devastated and saddened by what occurred. We offer our prayers sympathy for all those impacted by these events.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those killed this week. We have all been touched by the moving words from the victims’ families offering God’s forgiveness and love in the face of such horrible suffering.
Our hope and prayer is for peace and healing for the families of the victims, the Charleston community, and those touched by these events throughout the state of South Carolina and our nation.
As you can imagine, words are hard to find and we would ask that media respect our family’s privacy at this time. Any questions regarding Dylann can be directed to his attorney Boyd Young at [BLOCKED].