CHARLESTON, S.C.–A North Carolina florist is being hailed for her help catching the man accused of shooting and killing nine people inside a black church in Charleston.
Debbie Dills had been on her way to work Thursday morning when she saw a familiar black Hyundai next to her at a stoplight. She says her heart raced when she saw the driver: A white man with a bowlcut, just like the photos of the suspect she had seen on the news.
The apprehension of 21-year-old Dylann Roof ended an intense, hourslong manhunt. Authorities are calling the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Church a hate crime.
“Crimes like this — hate crimes, we’re called to show love and acceptance never judging people. It’s easier said than done, but that is what Christianity is all about,” said Father Charles Jacobs of the Holy Trinity Church in Hartford.
Dills says she called her boss, Todd Frady, who called a police officer he knew. That officer contacted the Shelby Police Department, whose officers captured Roof.
Dills says she caught up with the suspect and got a license plate number, following the car for about 2 miles while police confirmed it was the right car.
North Carolina authorities say that after Roof waived extradition, he was transferred into the custody of the FBI and flown to South Carolina to face charges.
Shelby Police Chief Jeff H. Ledford said 21-year-old Dylann Roof would be charged either when the plane transporting him landed in South Carolina or when it entered South Carolina airspace.
Roof has waived his right to counsel, meaning he will either represent himself or hire his own lawyer.
Local leaders across the country are stepping up in the wake of the violent crime to try and help people heal and make sense of a senseless event.
“My initial reaction was shock you know trying to put it all together,” said Rev. Daylan Greer of the Bethel AME Church in Bloomfield, who has visited the Emanuel Church in Charleston where the shootings occurred. “I am hoping we can use this as a mechanism for coming together as a community of faith, a community of believers and standing for justice even as far away as Connecticut to South Carolina. “