Charleston Shooting Suspect: What We Know About Dylann Roof

Roof was arrested after he allegedly shot and killed nine people during a Bible study class.
7:31 | 06/19/15

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Transcript for Charleston Shooting Suspect: What We Know About Dylann Roof
Carolina, is a community marked by both loss and love. Rattled by grief, rallying around those who lost family members in a historic hate crime, when 21-year-old dylann roof allegedly opened fire in one of the most famous black churches in the south. ABC's Cecilia Vega is on the scene as new details come to light about this disturbed young man. And the innocent victims of the tragedy in Charleston. ? ? let it shine let it shine ? Reporter: The community of Charleston is in mourning. We woke up today and the heart and soul of South Carolina was broken. Reporter: An entire nation grieving with South Carolina. But during this vigil to pray for those who lost their lives, through the tears, a moment of relief. The suspect in Wednesday night's deadly church massacre now in custody. That awful person, that terrible human being who would go into a place of worship where people were praying and kill them, is now in custody. Where he will always remain. Reporter: 21-year-old dylann roof finally captured during a traffic stop across state lines in Shelby, North Carolina. More than 200 miles from Charleston. And late tonight, roof transported back to south Carolina. Police saying a citizen alerted this emto his car. He was transported here to the Shelby police department. We currently have representatives from all the agencies that are involved in this investigation. Here on-site to work through the process of getting Mr. Roof back to South Carolina. Reporter: Roof accused of committing one of the deadliest attacks on a place of worship in United States history. At 8:00 P.M. Wednesday night, he enters the historic mother Emanuel ame church. Witnesses say he joined the prayer group, sitting with church members for nearly an hour before opening fire. 9:05 P.M., police responded, arriving to a gruesome scene. Advising of an active shooter, multiple people down. Reporter: Eight dying inside that church, one on the way to the hospital, in all six women and three men. Roof fleeing the scene, putting the community on alert. It is not completely secure, we have someone running around downtown, there's a possibility there's an active shooter in the area. Reporter: Pastor clem pinckney, state senator. Three making it out alive, a brand mother and her 5-year-old granddaughter. The grand motor, when it was done, telling her story to the pastor's cousin Sylvia who spoke to ABC's David Muir. The gunman came in and asked, where's the minister? He asked that? He asked, where's the minister? And they showed him where he was. And clementa being the kind, spirited person that he is, he -- he had him to sit next to him when they were getting ready to dismiss. That he -- he started shooting. He loaded up about five times. You spoke with one of three survivors. There were three total? Yes. What did she tell you? She said it was just horrible. It was just blood all over the place. She played dead in order to survive, in order to get him not to shoot her. She told her granddaughter to play dead too? Play dead, yes. When he got up, that's when the gunman questioned him and started, you know, saying, y'all rape our women and y'all have taken over the country. And I have to do what I have to do. Reporter: After it was over -- We got two people coming out, adult female and a child, they were found in the room. They need to get checked out. Reporter: Many of the victims killed grandparents in their 70s and 80s. Four were reverends, including pastor pinckney. We will get through it, our church will get through it. It's tough times but I know for a fact everybody will press on. Reporter: The son of victim and high school coach Sharonda Coleman singleton speaks out from southern Charleston university. Love is stronger than hate. We love the way my mom would and the hate won't be anywhere close to what love is. Reporter: Tonight many wondering if roof targeted the church for its role in the fight for black equality. In this video from 2013, reverend pinckney lays out the church's place throughout American history. Freedom to worship and freedom from sin, freedom to be full what god intends us to be, and have equality in the sight of god. Reporter: In the decades leading to emancipation, black churches were outlawed in Charleston. Mother Emanuel became a bedrook of the civil rights movement. The reverend martin Luther king Jr. Visited. In those years black churches were on the front lines, targeted with arson and bombs. The fact that this took place in a black church obviously also raises questions about a dark part of our history. This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked. Reporter: The federal government opening a hate crime investigation. Acts like this one have no place in our country and no place in a civilized society. Reporter: Investigators now hoping to find out exactly who dylann roof is. You're talking about a 21-year-old who typically 21-year-olds communicate via social media. It's extremely important to seize their computers, laptops, cell phones. Because most of their communication may well be in those devices. Reporter: Those who know him say roof's alleged plan was six months in the making. He was emotionless to me. Reporter: Today this friend since childhood telling me roof had a deep hatred of black people. He wanted segregation. What did he want to see happen? How was he going to do this? I think he wanted something big like trayvon martin, wanted to spark a race war. Reporter: In this photo nag patches on roof's jacket, one from apartheid-era South Africa, the other from the former rhodesia when it was ruled by a white minority, now called Zimbabwe. Joey meek and his mom saw roof just Tuesday. They say he always had a gun with him. What kind of guns? .45 Glock. Did he carry it around? In his car. Reporter: They called police when they saw him on TV this morning. FBI showing up at their home today. This is a small town. A close-knit community. Neighbors saw roof coming in and out of the country store all the time but he never raised any suspicion. But earlier this year, his bizarre behavior leading to run-ins with police. In February, roof wearing all-black, arrested at a mall after asking employees out of the ordinary questions. Accused of illegally possessing a prescription drug, roof telling police his parents were pressuring him to get a job. Just two months later, roof was arrested again at that same mall for trespassing. Tonight, for every vigil around the country there are as many unanswered questions. For "Nightline," Cecilia Vega in Charleston, South Carolina. Thoughts and prayers with them all tonight.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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