Clearer Picture of Charleston Church Shooter Emerges


Friends who opened their home to Dylann Roof this spring are painting a sharper picture of Roof as well as his actions the June morning before he allegedly gunned down nine parishioners in a historic black church in downtown Charleston.

Roof didn’t tell his friends he was going to Charleston that day, they told The State newspaper reporters in recent days. But the friends said they discovered what appeared to be gun magazines filled with bullets in a black book-bag Roof had in his car’s back seat that morning.

Lindsey Fry, 19, lives with the Meek family in a Red Bank trailer where Roof slept on and off in the weeks before the shootings. Fry and Fry’s boyfriend, Joseph “Joey” Meek Jr., 21, talked to reporters for The State last week before Meek was arrested Thursday and indicted Friday in federal court, pleading not guilty to charges of concealing evidence of a felony and lying to an FBI agent in the case.

Fry, who did most of the talking when reporters visited the trailer several times recently, told The State that she and other members of the Meek family were with Roof early on the day of the shooting. They also described Roof and his habits in more depth.

Roof, 21, of Columbia, drove the friends to Lake Murray that morning and dropped them off at the swimming area, the friends have told reporters before. But while they were still in the car, Fry said, one of the Meek brothers spilled ice on a “black book bag” Roof had in the backseat.

When the brother hurried to push aside the ice, he felt something hard in the bag, Fry said. Roof told his backseat passengers to be careful, saying there were “magazines” in there, Fry said.

Aside from a joke about the bag being filled with porn magazines, which Roof denied, Fry said that no one in the car followed up by asking what type of magazines Roof meant.

In hindsight, they think it was his ammunition.

Roof dropped his friends off at the lake and said he planned to watch “Jurassic World” alone at a movie theater, Fry said. He told them he would be back at the trailer later that night if he did not stay with his mother or father.

Fry said it was not unusual for Roof to watch movies alone or for him to skip swimming with them at the lake.

“He didn’t like to take his shirt off,” Fry said.

Fry said Roof never contacted her or the Meeks between the time he dropped them off at the lake and when he allegedly killed nine people, including state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, D-Jasper, at “Mother” Emanuel AME church in Charleston, around 9 p.m. that night.

Roof is being held in a Charleston jail. He was indicted by a federal grand jury July 22 on federal hate crime charges, nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. Roof also has been indicted by a Charleston County grand jury on nine counts of murder. Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson is seeking the death penalty. Federal authorities have not yet announced whether they will seek the death penalty.

Fry said she had thought Roof’s actions were “weird” since around late May, about a month after Roof resurfaced in the life of former middle school friend Joey Meek. Roof contacted Meek through Facebook and asked for a place to stay.

“He (Dylann) said, ‘Hey, I’m around, can I come out and chill?’” Lindsey recalled. To find their trailer park, which is in Lexington County and not very well marked, he had to use MapQuest.

For the next several weeks, Fry and Meek said, Roof alternated sleeping between the Meek trailer in Red Bank, his father’s house near downtown Columbia and his mother’s home in Hopkins. While in Red Bank, he would sometimes sleep on the floor and sometimes in his car.

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