The man suspected of fatally shooting nine congregants at a historic black church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, was given a pistol by his father as a 21st birthday present, his uncle told Reuters on Thursday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation identified the shooting suspect as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who was taken into custody by police in Shelby on Thursday.
Roof’s uncle, Carson Cowles, described his nephew as quiet and soft-spoken. Roof’s father gave him a .45-caliber pistol for his birthday in April, Mr. Cowles told Reuters. It is unclear what type of gun Roof allegedly used in Wednesday’s attack.
“Nobody in my family had seen anything like this coming,” Mr. Cowles said. “I said, if it is him, and when they catch him, he’s got to pay for this.”
He said he went to his sister, Roof’s mother, several years ago with concerns that Roof lacked ambition.
“I said he was like 19 years old, he still didn’t have a job, a driver’s license or anything like that, and he just stayed in his room a lot of the time,” Mr. Cowles told Reuters.
A woman who answered the cellphone of the suspect’s mother, Amelia Roof, declined to comment.
“We will be doing no interviews ever,” she told Reuters before hanging up.
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