Police say Roof shot and killed nine people inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, near the heart of Charleston’s tourist district. Eight died at the scene; a ninth died at a hospital.
Authorities were shocked not only by the killings but that the violence occurred in a house of worship.
“People in prayer Wednesday evening. A ritual, a coming together, praying, worshiping God. An awful person to come in and shoot them is inexplicable,” said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.
Six women and three men were killed, including the church’s politically active pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney.
Roof, 21, of Lexington, South Carolina, was arrested Thursday morning about 245 miles (395 kilometers) away in Shelby, North Carolina. He waived extradition and arrived back in South Carolina late Thursday.