Charleston sus­pect ‘wanted to start a race war’

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

The 21- year- old white man sus­pected of gun­ning down nine peo­ple at a his­toric black church in South Carolina has con­fessed to the crime, U.S. media re­ported Fri­day, cit­ing un­named of­fi­cials.

One law en­force­ment of­fi­cial told CNN that al­leged shooter Dy­lann Roof told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that he “wanted to start a race war” when he walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church in Charleston on Wed­nes­day night and opened fire on a Bi­ble study class. All of the vic­tims were black. Roof — who was ar­rested in North Carolina on Thurs­day and brought back to South Carolina af­ter he opted not to fight ex­tra­di­tion — was due in court later Fri­day for a bond hear­ing.

“We are get­ting co­op­er­a­tion at this point,” another of­fi­cial told lo­cal ABC af­fil­i­ate WCIV.

Two sources also con­firmed to NBC News that Roof — whose Face­book page in­cludes a pic­ture of him wear­ing the flags of de­funct white su­prem­a­cist regimes in South Africa and Rhode­sia — has con­fessed.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Ha­ley said Fri­day she be­lieved Roof should face the death penalty if con­victed. Cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment is le­gal in the south­ern state.

“This is an ab­so­lute hate crime,” she told NBC’s “To­day” show.

“We will ab­so­lutely will want him to have the death penalty. This is the worst hate that I’ve seen and the coun­try has seen in a long time,” she said.

“We will fight this and we will fight this as hard as we can.”

The car­nage was the worst at a U.S. place of wor­ship in decades and re­called the dark­est pe­ri­ods of U.S. history, in a church once burned to the ground af­ter a failed slave re­volt.

Frus­trated Obama Urges US to

Re-ex­am­ine Gun Cul­ture

Barack Obama was clearly an­gry, but mainly frus­trated. Once again he was speak­ing out af­ter a mur­der­ous shoot­ing spree, and once again he found him­self pow­er­less to act.

This time the pain was per­sonal. The U.S. pres­i­dent knew the pas­tor at the black church in South Carolina who was cut down along with eight of his flock in an ap­par­ently racist at­tack.

But his anger was made all the worse by the knowl­edge that none of the pre­vi­ous se­ries of mass shoot­ings on his watch have pushed fel­low Washington politi­cians to act.

“I’ve had to make state­ments like this too many times,” he said in brief re­marks from the White House podium, flanked by an equally ashen-faced Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den.

“Once again, in­no­cent peo­ple were killed in part be­cause some- one who wanted to in­flict harm had no trou­ble get­ting their hands on a gun,” he com­plained.

“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,” Obama said.

“It doesn’t hap­pen in other places with this kind of fre­quency. And it is in our power to do some­thing about it.”

It was telling that he used the phrase “our power,” af­ter seven years, and a half a dozen mas­sacres, Obama knows that his power alone will not be enough to change the de­bate.

‘Day of shame’

In 2013, af­ter the De­cem­ber 2012 slaugh­ter of 26 peo­ple — in­clud­ing 20 young chil­dren — at a Con­necti­cut school, Obama took 23 ex­ec­u­tive de­ci­sions to tweak gun rules.

The public was briefly in a state of shock, and some com­men­ta­tors thought a turn­ing point had been reached, but an at­tempt to bring a broad gun con­trol bill to Congress failed.

“We com­menced a sig­nif­i­cant lob­by­ing cam­paign to Congress, and we fell short. Congress fell short,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz told re­porters as Obama left town.

Barely four months

af­ter

the Sandy Hook school mas­sacre, Congress re­jected a bill that would have re­quired tougher back­ground checks for li­censes and ban sales from gun fairs.

The pres­i­dent called the fail­ure a “day of shame” and blamed the gun in­dus­try lobby.

Now, with Obama near­ing the fi­nal year of his pres­i­dency and can­di­dates jock­ey­ing to re­place him, he is re­al­is­tic about how much po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal he has left to spend.

“I don’t think the pres­i­dent is an­tic­i­pat­ing Congress mov­ing on this any­time soon,” Schultz said.

“But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a mo­ment for Amer­i­cans to re­al­ize the ur­gency of this is­sue and to ac­knowl­edge it.”

Obama is used to de­feat on this is­sue, but the latest mas­sacre may be one of the hard­est to bear, strik­ing at the heart of the AfricanAmer­i­can ex­pe­ri­ence in South Carolina.

He knew the slain pas­tor, Cle­menta Pinck­ney, and ev­ery his­to­rian of the strug­gle of for­mer African slaves knows the Emanuel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church in Charleston.

“Mother Emanuel is, in fact, more than a church. This is a place of wor­ship that was founded by African-Amer­i­cans seek­ing lib­erty,” he said, strug­gling to con­tain his fury.

AP

(Above) Keith McDaniel, pas­tor of Mace­do­nia Mis­sion­ary Bap­tist Church, seated left, and Ron Hen­der­son, pas­tor of Mt. Nebo Bap­tist Church, seated right, are sur­rounded by oth­ers in prayer for the vic­tims of Wed­nes­day’s shoot­ing at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina on Thurs­day, June 18 (Left) Charleston, South Carolina, shoot­ing sus­pect Dy­lann Storm Roof is es­corted from the Cleve­land County Court­house in Shelby, North Carolina, Thurs­day.

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