The roommate of the alleged gunman who unleashed a fatal ambush Wednesday night during a Bible study in a Charleston, South Carolina, church has apparently confirmed what many people likely suspected once details of the shooting began to emerge: Dylann Storm Roof did not like black people.
"He was big into segregation and other stuff,” Dalton Tyler, who shared a home with Roof and has known him for somewhere between seven months and a year, said to ABC News. “He said he wanted to start a civil war. He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself ... [He'd been] planning something like that for six months."
At least one other friend of Roof corroborated that account, though people apparently didn't take the suspect for his word because of his reported deadpan sense of humor. “He flat out told us he was going to do this stuff,” Christon Scriven said, according to the New York Daily News. “He’s weird. You don’t know when to take him seriously and when not to.”
Roof entered the church with one single objective: “to shoot black people,” according to law enforcement and witnesses, CNN reported. During the shooting, he reportedly announced to his victims, “You rape our women, and you're taking over our country. And you have to go," survivors of the shooting told officials.
As a photo purportedly of Tyler surfaced Thursday afternoon on social media, it became apparent the two of them perhaps shared an opinion when it came to race relations. In the photo, a person identified as Tyler was shown wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the Confederate Flag, a divisive and polarizing image associated with slavery, a practice that once thrived in South Carolina. Lettering on the shirt read: “This flag may fade but the glory never will”.
This is said to be Dalton Tyler, roommate of Dylann Roof, from his FB page. pic.twitter.com/4K81I1P4sy
— Jamilah! (@JamilahLemieux) June 18, 2015
Tyler, who said that he and Roof were introduced through a mutual friend before moving in together, said the last time he saw his roommate was last week, according to ABC news. He said that Roof had an “on and off” relationship with his parents, who gave the suspected shooter a gun as a present, though it wasn't immediately clear if the gun that was a gift was the same firearm used during Wednesday’s rampage that left nine people dead.
A reporter paid a visit Thursday to the home in which Roof and Tyler lived together before being rebuffed with threats of calling law enforcement for being on private property. However, it was unclear if the man inside the home was Tyler.
— Cynthia Roldan (@CynthiaRoldan) June 18, 2015