US church shooting suspect sought a race war

Washington, (IANS) The white young man who shot and killed nine people he’d sat with for Bible study at a historic black church in South Carolina’s Charleston on Friday told authorities he wanted to start a race war.

Dylann Roof, who faces a court hearing later Friday, spoke of his motive as he confessed to Wednesday night’s horrific mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston South Carolina, CNN reported citing law enforcement officials.

Roof, 21, has been charged with nine counts of murder in connection with the attack. He was also charged with one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

He is unlikely to appear in person in court, as most initial hearings there are conducted over a video link with the county jail.

Roof, according to police, opened fire on worshipers after sitting with them for at least an hour. The victims included the pastor, Clementa Pinckney, 41, who was also a state senator.

Roof allegedly told police he “almost didn’t go through with (the shooting) because everyone was so nice to him,” NBC News reported citing sources.

Meanwhile, the State’s Indian American governor Nikki Haley, told NBC on Friday that “we absolutely will want him to have the death penalty” for his crime.

Haley also told CBS News that the community is beginning to recover. “I think there was shock, and then I think there was anger, and then I think there was grief,” she said.

“But the one thing that we know is as soon as the suspect was found and they had him back in custody, the best part about it is now we can start to heal,” Haley added.

She said some victims’ family members have begun speaking to police and everyone is searching for more information and asking “Why?”

“The survivors and everybody, we’re trying to get as much information as we can so investigators are still talking to them trying to find out some information, how they’re doing,” Haley said.

“But there are some family members of some of the victims that are starting to come out and start talking.”

The mass shooting following a series of racially-charged cases involving police violence has led to renewed calls for honest conversations about race issues in the US. Haley said that conversation has already begun in her state.

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