Charleston suspect's roommate: He'd been planning something like this for six months

Thanks for letting us know a day after the information would have been useful, guy.

Dylann Roof, the alleged gunman authorities say is responsible for killing nine people in a predominantly black Charleston, South Carolina, church Wednesday night, had been “planning something like that for six months,” according to his roommate.

Dalton Tyler, who said he has known Roof for seven months to one year, said he saw the white, 21-year-old suspect just last week.

“He was big into segregation and other stuff,” Tyler said. “He said he wanted to start a civil war. He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself.”

The patches on his jacket in the already famous Facebook photo are symbols of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia, which is what Zimbabwe was known as when it was still ruled by whites. Those patches are common at white-supremacist events according to a source who spoke to the WSJ. “Storm,” his alleged middle name, is also apparently a name frequently used by skinhead types in honor of the Stormfront website. The same Journal article contains this passage describing what Roof was up to in February, which may support the roommate’s claim that he’s had murderous intentions for awhile:

On Feb. 28, he was arrested for drug possession at a Columbia mall, where the report said he was wearing all black and rattling employees at two stores with unusual questions about staffing and operating hours…

[An employee at a shop at the mall] said he wasn’t interested in merchandise but asked sales associates about the mall hours and how many people were in the mall when it closed. “It was a bunch of strange things you would not expect,” she said. “It did make us uncomfortable.”

A few days later, a security guard dropped off a flier with the mall’s tenants displaying Mr. Roof’s picture, she said. They were to be on alert and call security if they saw him in the mall again.

Maybe he was just high at the time and asking disjointed random questions, but when a guy who turns out to be a mass murderer seems curious about how many people there are at the local mall at a particular hour, odds are it’s not because he’s interested in beating the traffic.

How many other people around him had reason to think he might be dangerous? His uncle says the family had no inkling of violence in his character, to the point that Roof’s father evidently felt safe giving him a .45-caliber pistol as a birthday present this year. But that was in April; the mall incident and drug bust happened more than a month earlier, and apparently his roommate had reason to think he had bad intentions. There were signs that something was wrong. Another interesting footnote: The roommate told ABC that Roof’s parents didn’t allow him to take that .45 home with him until just this past week. How come?

Two questions to ponder. One: Why did Roof let the cops take him alive? That’s not unheard of in mass shootings (see, e.g., James Holmes in Aurora) but it’s unusual. Typically when a turd like this resolves to kill a bunch of people, he intends it to be his final act. Was he hoping to target more people or does he plan on using the trial as a soapbox for his views? Two: What to make of that eerie detail about Roof sitting quietly during the Bible study session at the church for an hour before opening fire? Was that him working up the nerve to do it? A strategy to get the victims to lower their guard? Or just his own personal freaky weirdness?