Words By: Molly Schmidt
A racist website has surfaced featuring a series of photographs of Dylann Roof posing with a handgun in various locations. The 21-year-old man has been accused of shooting dead nine African Americans at church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday. Roof, who allegedly sat beside the churchgoers for nearly an hour during bible study before opening fire, was given a gun by his father, for his 21st birthday.
The FBI is taking steps to verify the authenticity of the website and the identity of the photographer and author of the manifesto are yet to be confirmed, however US media reported the website had been registered under Dylann Roof’s name in February.
On the website, the author reveals their disparaging views of different races and a section titled “an explanation” explicitly mentions Charleston. “I chose Charleston because it is the most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country,” the manifesto reads.
Dalton Tyler, who previously lived with Roof, said Roof had been planning something for six months. “He was big into segregation and other stuff,” Tyler told the US 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.”
The author of the website explains media coverage of the 2012 shooting of unarmed black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin by neighbourhood watch co-ordinator George Zimmerman “awakened” them. The writer claims it is obvious Zimmerman was in the right, and that they were transformed by the “pages upon pages of … brutal black on White murders” chronicled online.
“We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no-one doing anything but talking on the internet,” the text reads. “Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”
Barrack Obama warned the country will have to address the issue of mass violence and race related crime. “Now is the time for mourning and for healing, but let’s be clear: at some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” he said..
At an emotional bail hearing, families of the victims allegedly addressed Roof, who appeared via videolink, and ‘forgave’ him, urging him to repent.
A relative of victim Ethel Lance said “You took something very precious from me, I’ll never be able to talk to her again, hold her again, but I forgive you. You hurt me, you hurt a lot of people, but God forgive you, and I forgive you.”
Police have not yet commented on the website, in which the man who looks like Roof appears alone in every photograph.