Details into Charleston shooting suspect's background emerge - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Details into Charleston shooting suspect's background emerge

Dylann Roof mugshot at Charleston County Detention Center. (Source: CCDC) Dylann Roof mugshot at Charleston County Detention Center. (Source: CCDC)
COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - There are new details emerging into what happened in the months leading up to the moment police say Dylann Roof opened fire inside a Charleston church, killing nine people.

The 21-one-year-old is from the Midlands area, but Friday morning he was behind bars more than 100 miles away, facing charges in the mass killing at Emanuel AME Church.

Roof's parents haven't spoken about the charges pending against their son, but one family member is: his uncle, Carson Cowles. Cowles said Roof has given the family a legacy a reputation that they will never be able to escape or change. Cowles also said he hopes whatever happens to his nephew Dylann through the court of law, Dylann should pay for the crimes he's accused of, if he is convicted.

Cowles also said just a few months ago, Dylann received a gun for his birthday from his father. 

While it's not clear if Roof has shown any violent behavior in the past, he has had some run ins with law enforcement before.

Columbia police took him into custody earlier in 2015 at a mall after employees at two stores told security a white man wearing all black had been in their stores asking unusual questions, including how many employees were working, what time the stores closed and what time workers left.

A police report said Roof claimed his parents were pressuring him to get a job but Roof told the arresting officer he had not picked up applications.

The officer described Roof as increasingly nervous, and when searched, the officer found a bottle containing a drug that turned out to be a prescription medication used to treat narcotic addiction.

Police say Roof claimed the orange squares were Listerine breath strips.

He was booked for drug possession and trespassing, and spent several days behind bars before he was released on a PR bond and eventually banned from the mall for three years. Those charges are still pending.

School officials in Richland One and Lexington One said Roof attended full or partial years at three schools in each district. Friends and former classmates of Roof's struggle to grasp understanding of how someone they know could end up facing mass murder charges.

Students who knew Roof said he wasn't the most outgoing kid in school, and often kept to himself. They say he did go through changes in his life, including stretches of time where he would wear all black or all camouflage to school. 

One student said Roof was often bullied in school, and it happened for years. The bullying was intense, his classmate said, though they never pictured Roof as someone who might snap and, as police said, walk into a church and gun down nine people.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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