By Harriet McLeod
A 21-year-old white gunman accused of killing nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, was arrested on Thursday, said U.S. officials, who are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
Law enforcement officials caught alleged gunman Dylann Roof, whose rampage on Wednesday came in a year that has seen months of racially charged protests across the United States over killings of black men.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters that a suspect had been taken into custody, hours after the shooting.
A man who identified himself as Roof’s uncle said he had recently been given a .45-caliber handgun as a birthday present by his father and that the 21-year-old had seemed adrift.
The victims, six females and three males, included Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who was the church’s pastor and a Democratic member of the state Senate, according to colleagues.