Dylann Storm Roof, 21, who slaughtered nine people at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night, was an alleged drug user of the synthetic drug Suboxone, as well as Xanax, cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine, according to police records. He also admitted to friends that he wanted to start a civil war months before his violent rampage.
Roof was arrested Feb. 28 at the Columbiana Mall in Columbia, SC, after store workers called police, saying he was asking suspicious questions about store hours and staffing. Police found Roof with Suboxone, a synthetic dug linked to aggressive behavior; Radar Online reported police also found cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine. Banned by the mall for a year, he reappeared there two months later and was arrested for trespassing.
Dalton Tyler, who roomed with Roof in a trailer park in Lexington, South Carolina for roughly a year, told ABC News, “He said he wanted to start a civil war. He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself … He was big into segregation and other stuff.” A former classmate, John Mullins, told The Daily Beast, “He made a lot of racist jokes, but you don’t really take them seriously like that. You don’t really think of it like that. “ He also acknowledged, “He used drugs heavily a lot. It was obviously harder than marijuana. He was like a pill popper, from what I understood. Like Xanax, and stuff like that.”
Joseph Meek Jr., who grew up with Roof, said they met again recently after a hiatus of five years. He said Roof was furious about the Trayvon Martin case and raved about the need for “the white race” to act. Meek said Roof’s racism was not in evidence when they were younger, but Roof recently became vocal about it. Meek said, “He said blacks were taking over the world. Someone needed to do something about it for the white race. He said he wanted segregation between whites and blacks. I said, ‘That’s not the way it should be.’ But he kept talking about it.”
Roof posted photos of himself scowling on Facebook, wearing a jacket emblazoned with flags from apartheid-era South Africa and from the former white-ruled Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe.) He featured a Confederate flag on the front license-plate area of his car.
Roof’s uncle, Carson Cowles, told Reuters that two years ago he had informed Roof’s mother, his sister Amelia, that Roof was troubled. He recalled, “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.”