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Dylann Roof Biography

Bio Synopsis

Dylann Storm Roof, born April 3, 1994, was struggled with his classes, attending the ninth grade twice before dropping out. He floated in and out of jobs, took drugs and drank, had run-ins with the police. When he was in middle school, Mr. Roof’s mother told her friends that her son was beginning to founder in school. “‘I don’t know what’s wrong with him,’” a friend, Kimberly Konzny, recalled her saying. “She said it was boring to him.” Here’s Dylann Roof Biography and Profile. Read more


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Dylann Roof Early Life

By the time he was in high school, Dylann Storm Roof, born April 3, 1994, was struggled with his classes, attending the ninth grade twice before dropping out. He floated in and out of jobs, took drugs and drank, had run-ins with the police, began reading white supremacist websites and, in the months before the massacre, boasted of wanting to start a race war, friends and investigators say. But nothing in the records, and nothing in his friends’ memories, offered a clear explanation to the question haunting South Carolina and the nation: How did the silent young man with no record of violence in his past come to be accused of killing nine people who had gathered to pray?

Derrick Pearson, a former classmate of the suspect told the Independent that Roof “mostly kept to himself.” An AP report citing a man who identified himself as an old friend of Roof, named Joseph Meek Jr., said Roof had made racist comments against African Americans that had come out of nowhere. Joseph Meek Jr, a childhood friend who apparently saw Roof on the morning of the shooting, told the AP that Roof had ranted that “blacks were taking over the world [and] someone needed to do something about it for the white race.” Roof’s roommate Dalton Tyler told ABC News that the suspected shooter “wanted to start a civil war” and had been “planning something like that for six months.”

His childhood friends say they lost touch with Mr. Roof after high school and were reacquainted only this year, when he joined Facebook. He reached out to Ms. Konzny’s sons, friends from his childhood in Lexington.

Even in his youth, Dylann Roof began to exhibit a greater interest in smoking grass than cutting it. At 13, his mother caught him spending $50 he had earned landscaping on marijuana, Ms. Konzny said.

“‘You ain’t going to see him for a while; he’s grounded,’” Ms. Konzny recalled his mother saying.

Dylann Roof Biography and Profile

Dylann Storm Roof, born April 3, 1994, accused of the terrible crime was a bug-eyed boy with a bowl haircut who came from a broken home and attended at least seven schools in nine years. Many afternoons, he would sit silently on the curb in front of his roomy yard and, when he tired of it, move to a different curb. He helped neighbors with their yard work, but they still found him strange. He attended solidly middle-class, racially integrated schools, grew up with black friends and came from a respected family, his grandfather a well-known local lawyer. But court records suggest that his divorced parents struggled with finances when he was a teenager, with his mother being evicted from her home in 2009 and his father’s once-successful business renovating historic homes falling into debt and closing a few years later.

By the time he was in high school, Mr. Roof was struggling with his classes, attending the ninth grade twice before dropping out. He floated in and out of jobs, took drugs and drank, had run-ins with the police, began reading white supremacist websites and, in the months before the massacre, boasted of wanting to start a race war, friends and investigators say.

But nothing in the records, and nothing in his friends’ memories, offer a clear explanation to the question haunting South Carolina and the nation: How did the silent young man with no record of violence in his past come to be accused of killing nine people who had gathered to pray?

“When he opened up, you could tell something was wrong at home. He wasn’t at peace,” said Taliaferro Robinson-Heyward, who attended middle school with Mr. Roof. “It wasn’t like he was a mean person, but you could tell he had a darkness to his life.”

The Life of Dylann Roof

School records suggest that Mr. Roof often moved back and forth between Lexington, a rural mostly white community, where his mother lived, and Columbia, about 20 minutes away, where his father owned houses. The Lexington School District, where Mr. Roof attended fourth, eighth and ninth grades, described him as a “very transient student.” In Columbia, he was in class with black students and the children of professors who worked at the nearby University of South Carolina.

“I remember him as somewhat shy, and that he never penetrated into the ‘in’ crowd,” said Ted Wachter, the retired principal of Rosewood Elementary School, where Mr. Roof attended fifth grade.

Mr. Robinson-Heyward, who is black, said he saw little evidence of bigotry in the young Dylann. “To me, in the seventh grade, he saw black just as he saw white, you know,” said Mr. Robinson-Heyward, 20, who works in a funeral parlor and helped prepare for burial the bodies of two of the shooting victims.

Another childhood friend, Caleb Brown, recalled a class assignment that required students to go home and ask about their heritage.

With a child’s inquisitiveness, Mr. Roof asked his mixed-race friend, who had darker skin and curly hair, about his background and learned that Mr. Brown’s father was black.

“That didn’t change his behavior toward me,” Mr. Brown said in an interview.

The boys became friends at the behest of their mothers, having sleepovers, skateboarding and playing Nascar racing video games. Mr. Brown recalled Mr. Roof’s mother being welcoming and tolerant of all of races.

“He wasn’t the most popular kid, but he wasn’t upset about that,” Mr. Brown said.

When he was in middle school, Mr. Roof’s mother told her friends that her son was beginning to founder in school. “‘I don’t know what’s wrong with him,’” a friend, Kimberly Konzny, recalled her saying. “She said it was boring to him.”

Several of Mr. Roof’s friends said he often complained that his father put him to work landscaping. Even in his youth, Mr. Roof began to exhibit a greater interest in smoking grass than cutting it. At 13, his mother caught him spending $50 he had earned landscaping on marijuana, Ms. Konzny said.

“‘You ain’t going to see him for a while; he’s grounded,’” Ms. Konzny recalled his mother saying.

In an interview with The Daily News, Mr. Roof’s former stepmother, Paige Mann, said she raised him while his father traveled up to four days a week. She described her stepson as “a loner and quiet and very smart — too smart.”

“He was locked in his room looking up bad stuff on the computer,” she said. “Something on the computer drew him in — this is Internet evil.”

In her 2009 divorce filing from Mr. Roof, Ms. Mann described a comfortable life, including a car that cost $700 a month, a 3,000-square-foot, custom-built home in Earlewood and four other properties, including two homes in the Florida Keys.

The couple at one point moved to the Keys, but the school district there said Mr. Roof was never enrolled, and neighbors did not remember much about him except that he was scrawny for his age.

The move destroyed the marriage, Ms. Mann said in the divorce records, and the couple returned to South Carolina separately in late 2008. The Keys house was later lost to foreclosure as the elder Mr. Roof’s construction business collapsed and he defaulted on a business loan, court records show.

Ms. Mann claimed that she left because her husband had been abusive, and offered photographs to prove it. Benn Roof hired a private detective to document her liaisons with another man.

That family turmoil took place at about the time Mr. Roof was entering ninth grade in Lexington. School records show he repeated the grade, completing the last three months of his second stint of ninth grade back in Columbia, in 2010. After that, neither district has any record of his attendance.

His childhood friends say they lost touch with Mr. Roof after high school and were reacquainted only this year, when he joined Facebook. He reached out to Ms. Konzny’s sons, friends from his childhood in Lexington.

In May this year, Mr. Roof spent several nights a week sleeping on Ms. Konzny’s sofa and watching movies. He was the only one in the group who had a car and some spending money, so he drove the friends places and often showed up at their trailer home with bottles of Taaka vodka.

“He was a lot more quiet,” Ms. Konzny’s son, Joseph C. Meek Jr., 20, said. “He was, like, emotionless.”

Mr. Meek’s younger brother, Jacob, said Mr. Roof recently watched a documentary about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and praised the assassinated civil rights leader, but was bothered by the Trayvon Martin case in Florida. “He doesn’t use the N-word,” said Jacob, 15. “He says ‘African-American.’”

But Joseph Meek admitted that he knew his friend harbored racist views and talked of doing “something big.” But Mr. Meek did not try to alert the authorities.

Jacob Meek remembered how Mr. Roof would call his father, pretending to be at work when he had actually quit his landscaping job weeks earlier. Mr. Roof’s relatives declined to comment or did not respond to several messages left at their homes. John Delgado, a lawyer representing the family, said, “They are still grieving and at loss to explain this horrific incident.”

This year, Mr. Roof had at least three encounters with the local police. In February, he attracted attention at a shopping mall when, dressed in black, he asked store employees about how many people were working and what time they would be leaving. A police officer searched him and found Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opiate addiction, and he was charged with a misdemeanor. A few weeks later, a police officer questioned him for loitering at a park and found semi-automatic rifle parts in his car trunk, but he was not charged. In April, Mr. Roof was arrested at the same shopping mall, where he had been barred for a year, and was convicted of trespassing, a misdemeanor.

It was also in April that Mr. Roof went into a gun store in West Columbia and bought a .45-caliber handgun with money his father had given him for his 21st birthday. Last week, the F.B.I. said Mr. Roof should have been barred from making the purchase because he had admitted to possessing drugs, but a breakdown in the background-check process allowed the sale to go through. The police said the gun he purchased was used in the church killings.

The arrest was particularly surprising to people familiar with Mr. Roof’s grandparents, Joe and Lucy, who are known for taking walks in their tree-lined Columbia neighborhood and greeting neighbors they run into along the way.

Tameika Isaac Devine, a Columbia city councilwoman who lives on the grandparents’ street, rang their doorbell three days after the massacre.

Charleston Church Shooting

On Wednesday 17 June 2015 nine people were shot dead during a bible study group at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church. Dylann Storm Roof, the 21-year-old white man charged with the shooting and killing. Many questions were need to unravel Dylann Storm Roof’s motivations and mindset.

“What are you?” a member of the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston asked at the trial of the white man who killed eight of her fellow black parishioners and their pastor. “What kind of subhuman miscreant could commit such evil?… What happened to you, Dylann?” Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah spent months in South Carolina searching for an answer to those questions—speaking with Roof’s mother, father, friends, former teachers, and victims’ family members, all in an effort to unlock what went into creating one of the coldest killers of our time.

Sitting beside the church, drinking from a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, he thought he had to go in and shoot them. They were a small prayer group—a rising-star preacher, an elderly minister, eight women, one young man, and a little girl. But to him, they were a problem. He believed that, as black Americans, they were raping “our women and are taking over our country.” So he took out his Glock handgun and calmly, while their eyes were closed in prayer, opened fire on the 12 people gathered in the basement of Mother Emanuel AME Church and shot almost every single one of them dead.

Dylan Storm Roof’s website hinted at why he chose “historic” Charleston to shoot nine people to death at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. Along with a long, hate-filled screed, the 21-year-old included photos of himself burning an American flag, taking aim with a pistol and posing proudly at sites connected to the Confederacy.

Dylann Roof, Dylann Storm Roof, Racist, Racists, KKK, Ku Klux Klan, Dylann Roof Biography and Profile, Dylann Storm Roof Biography and Profile, American White Supremacist
Dylann Roof Burning the American Flag

The 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin — the black Florida teen killed by George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder — prompted Roof to research online what he called “black on white crime,” the manifesto said.

“At this moment I realized that something was very wrong,” the manifesto said. “How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?”

Toward the end of the 2,000-word text, under a section titled “An Explanation,” the writer hints at why Charleston was targeted.

“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 most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”

Dylann Roof Biography
Dylann Roof Holding the KKK, Ku Klux Klan Flag

The website, called “The Last Rhodesian,” is registered to Roof and lists him as its administrator. In an image tweeted by South Carolina authorities this week, Roof is seen wearing a jacket with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and nearby Rhodesia, a former British colony that a white minority ruled until it became independent in 1980 and its name was changed to Zimbabwe.

Images on the website include a .45-caliber Glock pistol; Roof taking aim with the gun, and posing in front of a sign that says, “Sacred burial site. Our African ancestors” as well as outside South Carolina’s Museum and Library of Confederate History; and Roof standing on and burning an American flag.

The contents of the website appear to back up what friends have said about the young man who Saturday sat in his jail cell under suicide watch.

A drunken Roof boasted one night about an unspecified six-month plan “to do something crazy,” his friend Joey Meek told CNN on Friday.

The young man typically kept to himself but a liter of vodka that night seemed to fuel talk about the return of segregation and vague plans “to start a race war,” Meek recalled.

“He wanted it to be white with white, and black with black,” Meek said. “He had it in his mind, and he didn’t really let nobody know (what he was going to do).”

Meek hid Roof’s gun that night but put it back the next day, he said. “I didn’t take him serious.”

Meek didn’t take his claims to authorities before Thursday morning, the day after nine people were killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

“Dylann wasn’t a serious person; no one took him serious,” Meek said. “But if someone had taken him serious, this all would all have been avoided.”
Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

On Friday, Roof was expressionless, almost solemn, as he appeared via video before Magistrate James Gosnell Jr., who opened a bond hearing by saying that there were victims on the young man’s side of the family as well. The judge set a $1 million bond on the possession of a firearm count but no bond on the murder charges.
Roof almost inaudibly answered questions about his age, address and employment.

He showed no emotion as family members of his victims addressed the court and Roof, expressing both anger and forgiveness.

“I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you,” a daughter of Ethel Lance said. “And have mercy on your soul. You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people, but God forgives you, and I forgive you.”

Felecia Sanders, mother of victim Tywanza Sanders, said that “every fiber in my body hurts, and I will never be the same.”

“As we said in the Bible study, we enjoyed you,” she said of Roof’s time at the church before the massacre. “But may God have mercy on you.”

Police caught Roof in Shelby, North Carolina, about 245 miles away from the carnage in Charleston.

He confessed to the shootings in interviews with the Charleston police and FBI, two law enforcement officials told Evan Perez and Wesley Bruer of CNN, the first network to report this development. He also told investigators he wanted to start a race war, one of those officials said.

Police are investigating the shooting as a hate crime.

The wedding of Roof’s sister, planned for this weekend, has been postponed, according to the Rev. Tony Metze, pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Columbia, South Carolina.

Metze said he met with Roof’s immediate family on Friday.

“What they’ve asked and what I ask is that we continue to hold all these families in our prayers,” Metze told CNN. “And that the whole world, our nation, Charleston, our community understand that we love them. God loves them.”

Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton and Myra Thompson
Emanuel AME Church: Dylann Storm Roof shooting victims are Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton and Myra Thompson

Friends and family

Family members and friends of Roof who spoke to CNN painted a picture of a childhood and adolescence that was perhaps troubled, but there was nothing to indicate that he’d grow up to be accused of such a horrific hate crime.

“That’s why all this is such a shock,” said John Mullins, who attended White Knoll High School with Roof.

Dylann Roof spent his early years shuttling back and forth between his mother and father, who had divorced in 1991, four years before he was born, according to court documents.
When it came to school, he struggled — and his attendance was poor. Roof was “very transient,” said one White Knoll High School official. “He came and went.” Roof flunked the ninth grade twice before dropping out.

Mullins told CNN that Roof was “kind of wild” but he wasn’t violent. He was a heavy drinker, and liked to smoke marijuana, but he also dabbled in a harder variety of drugs. In February, he was arrested at a local mall for possession of Suboxone — medication used to treat heroin addiction — because he didn’t have a prescription for it.

As far as a burgeoning streak of racism, Mullins recalled Roof occasionally making racist comments, but said he had black friends at the same time.

“They were just racist slurs in a sense,” he said. “He would say it just as a joke. … I never took it seriously, but now that he shed his other side, so maybe they should have been taken more seriously.”

The months leading up to the shooting were a mix of troubling and odd. The Suboxone episode got him banned from the Columbiana Centre mall for a year, but Roof nevertheless returned April 26, prompting another arrest, and this time, a three-year ban from the mall.

Before opening fire

Roof spent about an hour at the historic African-American church before the massacre, attending the prayer meeting with his eventual victims, Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen said.

Witnesses told investigators the gunman stood up and said he was there “to shoot black people,” a law enforcement official said.

He answered one man’s plea to stop by shooting him, said Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of the church’s slain pastor who has talked to a survivor.

“‘No, you’ve raped our women, and you are taking over the country,” he said, according to Johnson. “… I have to do what I have to do.”

All the victims were shot multiple times, according to Roof’s arrest warrant.

“Prior to leaving the bible study room he stood over a witness … and uttered a racially inflammatory statement,” the warrant said.

Investigators are looking into whether Roof had links to white supremacist or other hate groups, a law enforcement official said. There’s no indication so far that he was known to law enforcement officials who focus on hate groups.

The gun

Roof turned 21 in April, and a short time later he had a gun. On Thursday, investigators did a trace of the handgun used in Wednesday’s shooting and determined that it was a .45-caliber handgun Roof purchased from a Charleston gun store in April, two law enforcement officials told CNN’s Perez and Bruer.

Roof purchased a Glock .45-caliber model 41, which holds 13 rounds, a federal law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation said. Witnesses have reported that Roof reloaded a number of times.

Roof’s father and uncle contacted police after surveillance camera images of the suspect were made public, according to the arrest warrant. His father told authorities his son owned a .45-caliber handgun.

Joe Roof, his grandfather, said Roof was given “birthday money” and that the family didn’t know what he did with it.

Dylann Roof guilty of South Carolina church killings

A white supremacist was onvicted of killing nine black worshippers in a church in South Carolina in a racially motivated attack. The twelve jurors deliberated for about three hours before sentencing Dylann Roof, 22, to die. To impose the death penalty, they had to reach a unanimous decision. It is the same jury that found Roof guilty of federal hate crimes charges for entering Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015 and sitting among those at a Bible study in the basement before opening fire on the worshippers.

The sentencing portion of the trial began Jan. 3 and ended on Tuesday. Survivors, family members of those killed and law enforcement officials testified for the prosecution about Roof’s crime, the lives he cut short and his apparent motives.

Family members of Cynthia Graham Hurd, one of the victims, talked about Hurd’s love of books, which led to her work as a librarian, reported Charleston’s Post and Courier newspaper.

After the sentence was announced, Hurd’s brother Melvin Graham told reporters outside the courthouse “It’s a hard to say that this person deserves to live when [the] other nine don’t,” tweeted Post and Courier reporter Abigail Darlington.

“He was radicalized,” Graham continued.

Another victim, Ethel Lance, was remembered as the matriarch of her family.

The Post and Courier reported:

“The oldest of Lance’s children, the Rev. Sharon Risher, held up her hands in the witness stand and pretended to rip apart a piece of fabric representing her family.

“‘Nobody is there to keep us together, to keep the pieces together. Now we have tattered pieces,’ Risher said tearfully. ‘And I know that would devastate her.'”

In his closing argument, which lasted about two hours according to South Carolina Public Radio’s Alexandra Olgin, prosecutor Jay Richardson argued that Roof deserved to die for his crime because he planned a deadly race-based attack in an attempt to incite further violence and had shown no remorse.

Family

Dylann Storm Roof was born to Amelia and Franklin B. Roof, a construction contractor who liked to ride Harleys. The birth came three years after his parents had divorced. But their reconciliation did not last: When Dylann Roof was 5, his father, known as Benn, remarried.

Dylann Storm Roof Biography and Profile

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