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Documents: Church shooting suspect admitted involvement in incid - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Documents: Church shooting suspect admitted involvement in incident when pulled over by police

Crime scene photo from the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting on June 17. (Photo Source: Charleston Police Department) Crime scene photo from the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting on June 17. (Photo Source: Charleston Police Department)
An image of the interior of the church taken days after the shooting. (Photo Source: Charleston Police Dept.) An image of the interior of the church taken days after the shooting. (Photo Source: Charleston Police Dept.)
SLED agents used tape to seal the car driven by Roof at the time of his arrest. (Photo Source: SLED) SLED agents used tape to seal the car driven by Roof at the time of his arrest. (Photo Source: SLED)
Dylann Roof appeared in court on July 16 in connection with the shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church. (Photo Source: Live 5) Dylann Roof appeared in court on July 16 in connection with the shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church. (Photo Source: Live 5)
Photo of the car suspect Dylann Roof drove the day after the church shooting. (Photo Source: SLED) Photo of the car suspect Dylann Roof drove the day after the church shooting. (Photo Source: SLED)
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

According to newly-released documents concerning the Charleston church shooting in June, suspect Dylann Roof admitted to North Carolina police he was involved in the incident.

Charleston Police released limited details including crime scene photos and documents relating to the fatal shooting of nine members of Mother Emanuel AME Church on June 17 and the arrest of Roof, 21, the following day.

MOBILE USERS: Click here to see additional photos.

A report from the Shelby, North Carolina Police Department was one of several documents and reports approved for release by the judge in the Roof case.

When an officer pulled Roof over on June 18, the day after the shooting, the officer asked Roof where he was coming from, according to an incident report. Police say Roof told the officer he was coming from Charleston, and when asked if he was involved "in the incident down there," referring to the shooting, the report states Roof said, "yes."

The report states when police asked Roof if there were any weapons or explosives in the car that could hurt the officers or others, Roof said the gun was under a pillow in the back seat.

Information released also includes photos taken outside the church on the night of the shooting, photos of inside the church taken days later after the crime scene had been cleaned, additional photos of the car Roof was driving at the time of his arrest in North Carolina, and incident reports from police on the scene and dispatchers from the night of the shooting.  

Much of the released information is heavily redacted. SLED documents refer to pieces of evidence having been tested, but the details of what the evidence was and the results of the tests were blotted out.

One report states authorities got a call from a man the morning after the shooting who saw a press release of the suspected shooter and said he was positive the subject was someone he knew and had recently spent time  with “hanging out with Dylann.” According to the report he knew Dylann personally and that he also knew that Dylann drove a black Hyundai vehicle that had a Confederate Flag license plate on the front bumper. The caller was adamant that he was very familiar with the subject and that he lived in a neighborhood in the Lexington area of South Carolina called Ridgecrest.

Information about the identity of that caller was one of the pieces of information redacted from the released documents.

Also released were transcripts of the police log of communications between police and dispatchers the night of the shooting and the day after.

The first transmissions came in shortly after 9 p.m. the night of the shooting. The released transcripts of the first conversations included the snippets, "People shot down her (sic)," "shot pastor," "man is still here," "lower level," and "shooter in office."

Additional transmissions described the shooter as a "young white male" and at one point the transcript indicated, "male is reloading." The transcript refers to the number of shots fired: "so many."

Officers are told the shooter went out the back door and soon learn that the wife of the church's pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney is under a desk in the office.

At 9:21 p.m., word comes that eight people are deceased inside the church, the transcript states.

The day after the shooting at 12:01 p.m. incident command cancels the BOLO for Dylann Storm Roof after his capture in North Carolina. BOLO is an acronym for "be on the lookout," an alert sent by law enforcement officers during the search for a suspect or person of interest during an investigation.

The police department also released a document from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division that states authorities obtained a video that shows Roof purchasing a gun at a gun shop in Columbia on April 16, two months before the shooting.

Authorities restrict details released, cite victim privacy, harm to investigation

The release of information followed a Freedom of Information Act request. In response, Charleston Asst. Corporation Counsel Will Bryant explained the reason authorities were denying parts of the request in an accompanying letter addressed to "Members of the Media."

"While the public and the media have a legitimate interest in aspects of the case, those interests are not served by the release of gory and disturbing videos and photographs," he wrote "Nor is the interest of the public and media served by the release of information that would 'constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy' of the families of the nine people who were killed in the incident or those who lived through it."

Bryant also wrote that the Victims' Bill of Rights protects the "victims' rights to justice and due process" and requires victims "be treated with fairness, respect and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment...through the criminal justice process."

Police also say the "premature release of such records, to be used in prospective law enforcement action, could harm the ongoing investigation into the events that occurred before, during and after the incident." 

"If key, here-to-fore unknown information is released before trial, it could influence the reliability and credibility of anyone who might be or claim to be a witness to the chain of events that surrounded the shootings," Bryan wrote.

Roof is accused of killing nine people at the church following a Bible study. 

Roof faces nine charges of murder, three charges of attempted murder and a weapons charge. In addition to those 13 state charges against Roof, he faces 33 federal 33 federal hate crime and weapons charges, bringing the total number of charges against him to 46. 

This is a developing story. Check back for additional information.

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