Authorities said Saturday that the man accused of killing nine African Americans in a venerable Charleston, S.C., church left a racist manifesto targeting blacks, Jews and Hispanics on his Web site, a white supremacist broadside that also appears to offer a rationale for the shootings.
The lengthy declaration, loaded with offensive racial characterizations of blacks and others, includes the conclusion that “someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”
“I have no choice,” states part of that final section, titled “An Explanation.” “I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is [the] most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country.”
Law enforcement officials said that the site belonged to Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old accused of gunning down nine people at a Bible study in Charleston’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night, and that it reflected his views. The site also included 60 photos, most of which showed Roof.
The Web site domain was registered on Feb. 9 to Roof, according to a law enforcement official. Another official said the material on it was last modified late Wednesday afternoon, just hours before Roof allegedly attacked the Bible study group at the church. In its penultimate paragraph, the manifesto states: “Unfortunately at the time of writing I am in a great hurry and some of my best thoughts, actually many of them, have been . . . left out and lost forever.” The last line apologizes for typos.
As the investigation continued, a church deacon said that Emanuel would be open.
Roof was arrested Thursday about 250 miles north of Charleston, in Shelby, N.C., and is being held on $1 million bond. He has been charged with nine counts of murder and one count of possessing a firearm while committing a violent crime. He is in solitary confinement in the Charleston County jail and, according to county police, is on a suicide watch.
The manifesto unearthed Saturday states that “the event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case,” which, a friend of Roof’s said Saturday, is a theme he has spoken of before. Martin, an unarmed black high school student, was fatally shot in 2012 by George Zimmerman in a racially charged case in Florida. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who said he acted in self-defense, was found not guilty of second-degree murder.
But the vast majority of the rant, which displays some unusually sophisticated language if all of it was written by Roof, a ninth-grade dropout, reveals a deep hatred of minorities — particularly blacks — and a strong belief in racist stereotypes.
“Negroes have lower Iqs, lower impulse control, and higher testosterone levels in generals,” the manifesto declares. “These three things alone are a recipe for violent behavior.”
It observes that “if we could somehow destroy the jewish identity, then they wouldn’t cause much of a problem” and that there are “good hispanics and bad hispanics,” many of whom, it says, “are White.”
“But they are still our enemies,” the section on Hispanics concludes.
The manifesto also condemns whites who have moved to the suburbs in search of better schools and neighborhoods, which, it declares “is just a way to escape [blacks] and other minorities.” That passage used an epithet for African Americans.
“I hate with a passion the whole idea of the suburbs. To me it represents nothing but scared White people running. Running because they are too weak, scared and brainwashed to fight,” the manifesto states. It also spurns patriotism as “people pretending like they have something to be proud while White people are being murdered daily in the streets.”
One passage acknowledges “great respect for the East Asian races,” who “are by nature very racist” and could be “great allies” of whites.
Authorities and people who have spoken to survivors of the massacre have said that Roof spent an hour with the Bible study group in the landmark Charleston church before methodically executing nine of its members with a handgun. He stopped to reload five times and spared one woman so she could tell the story of what he had done, according to some. Two people, a woman and a 5-year-old girl, escaped.
“I have to do it,” the shooter told his victims, according to Sylvia Johnson, cousin of a pastor who died in the attack, who spoke to a survivor. “You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”
According to a state lawmaker who had been briefed by police, Roof told authorities that he “almost didn’t go through with it because they were so nice to him.”
Joey Meek Jr., a friend of Roof’s, has said that when Roof was drunk he spoke of “wanting to hurt a whole bunch of people.” But Meek said he shrugged it off because Roof was drinking.
Roof has acknowledged to authorities that he was responsible for Wednesday night’s rampage and that he wants his actions known, according to law enforcement officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing.
Roof lived on and off with several friends in a trailer in Red Bank, S.C., before the shooting. Court records indicate that he had a fractured family life and that his father divorced twice. Detailed records of the second divorce case, obtained by Britain’s Daily Mail, showed a volatile and abusive relationship between Roof’s father, Franklin Roof, and his stepmother, Paige Mann. Their divorce was finalized about the time that Roof dropped out of high school.
Franklin Roof answered the door to his home Saturday and told a reporter to leave. Mann could not be reached for comment. A close relative of Mann’s, who declined to give his name because of safety concerns, said the family situation was a “mess.”
“But did anybody see this coming?” he said. “Doubtful.”
The 60 photos on the Web site are mostly portraits of Roof, many of which appear to have been taken at South Carolina historic sites. There are photos of Roof — clad in camouflage pants and combat boots — posing among the gravestones in a Confederate cemetery, crouching amid the hanging moss of a plantation and standing in front of former slave quarters.
There also are more provocative images, such as Roof wearing all black and standing on an African ancestral burial site; burning an American flag; holding a Confederate flag; and posing shirtless in a bedroom with a handgun pointed at the camera.
In one photo, Roof is shown standing in front of a Confederate history museum in Greenville, S.C. Telephone calls and an e-mail to the museum director were not returned.
In another photo, Roof scowls at the camera on a beach, where he’s written “1488” in the sand. The numbers, according to the Anti-Defamation League, are a combination of two white supremacist numeric symbols. The number 14 is shorthand for the “14 Words” slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
The number 88 stands for “Heil Hitler,” according to the ADL, because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet.
“Together, the numbers form a general endorsement of white supremacy and its beliefs,” according to a statement on the ADL’s Web site. “As such, they are ubiquitous within the white supremacist movement — as graffiti, in graphics and tattoos, even in screen names and e-mail addresses.”
Pat Hines, the South Carolina state chairman of the League of the South, an organization that wants Southern states to secede from the United States, said Roof did not appear to belong to any white supremacist groups and could have been indoctrinated on the Internet.
“I think [his view] was probably heavily influenced by what he read online,” Hines said. “He’s not in any of our rolls or directories, nor are his parents.”
The League of the South, which calls for a white-led society, is one of 19 organizations in South Carolina classified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“I cannot ever see the League of the South encouraging anybody to do anything so bizarre,” Hines said. “It only accomplishes the heartache of these families. It doesn’t advance the standing of the Southern people. We’re sorry it happened in South Carolina.”
Among neo-Confederate and white nationalist groups, Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin was a major event. In its aftermath, a Web site operated by the Council of Conservative Citizens, another alleged hate group, received more than 170,000 page views in a day.
The manifesto says the group’s Web site was the first one encountered in a Google search for “black on White crime.”
“I was in disbelief,” it states. “At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?”
On Saturday, the CCC’s Web site appeared to have been taken down. A description on the group’s Facebook page says that its members believe that the United States is a Christian nation and that Americans are part of the European people. The page, which has 558 members, notes that its members also believe in “racial integrity.”
Over the years, the council’s conservative causes have included strict opposition to immigration and forced busing for school desegregation.
In the past, the Southern Poverty Law Center has accused the CCC of having ties to the Ku Klux Klan and the National Association for the Advancement of White People, both “openly white supremacist organizations.”
The CCC’s Web site has run pictures comparing pop singer Michael Jackson to an ape and referred to black people as “a retrograde species of humanity,” according to the SPLC.
Founded in 1985 by Gordon Baum, a personal-injury lawyer, the CCC had more than 1 million members at its height, including bankers, business people, judges, newspaper editors and politicians, according to the SPLC.
Baum died in March of an undisclosed illness at age 74, the SPLC reported.
Chico Harlan in Columbia, S.C., and DeNeen Brown and Abby Phillip in Charleston, S.C., contributed to this report.