biographical data

Dylann Roof biography: 13 things about Charleston church shooting perpetrator

Dylan Storm Roof
Dylan Storm Roof

Dylann Storm Roof is a white man from South Carolina, United States. In 2017, he became the first person in the U.S. sentenced to death for a federal hate crime.

Roof and his younger sister Morgan Roof have one older half-sister. Here are 13 more things about him:


  1. He was born in Columbia, South Carolina to Franklin Bennett “Benn” Roof and Amelia “Amy” Cowles. In November 1999, Benn married Paige Hastings Mann. In 2009, Benn and Mann divorced.
  2. From 2005 to 2008, he and his family temporarily moved to Florida Keys, Florida, USA. When they went back to South Carolina, he lived alternatively in his father’s home in Columbia and in his mother’s home in Hopkins.
  3. He attended at least seven schools in South Carolina including White Knoll High School in Lexington. In 2010, he dropped out of school and spent his time playing video games and taking drugs, including Suboxone.
  4. On February 9, 2015, he registered the website called Last Rhodesian to his name which contained photos and an unsigned manifesto that expressed his racist views. On February 28, 2015, he entered the Columbiana Centre in Columbia wearing all-black clothing and asked employees unsettling questions. On March 2, 2015, police questioned him about the incident and found a bottle of Suboxone on his person. He was arrested for a misdemeanor charge of drug possession and banned from the Columbiana Centre for one year.
  5. On March 13, 2015, he was investigated for loitering in his parked car near a park in Columbia. A police officer found a forearm grip for an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and six unloaded magazines in his vehicle. He told the officer he wanted to buy an AR-15 but did not have enough money to do so. He was not charged. On April 21, 2015, which was eight days after he turned 21, he bought a 45-caliber Glock handgun at Shooter’s Choice in West Columbia, South Carolina. On April 26, 2015, he was arrested for trespassing on the Columbiana Centre mall’s grounds in violation of the ban, which was consequently extended for three additional years.
  6. He was unemployed and living in Eastover, South Carolina when he used his 45-caliber Glock handgun to open fire during a routine Bible study at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015, killing nine members of the African-American congregation. After his arrest in Shelby, North Carolina, USA on June 18, 2015, he confessed to committing the attack with the intention of starting a race war. On June 19, 2015, he was charged with nine counts of murder and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. On July 7, 2015, he was indicted on three new charges of attempted murder for the three people who survived the shooting.
  7. In September 2015, it was announced that he would face capital punishment in his state prosecution. In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that he would face capital punishment in his federal prosecution.
  8. On August 4, 2016, he was beaten while detained at the Charleston County Detention Center by his fellow inmate Dwayne Marion Stafford, then 25, who is African-American. On November 25, 2016, he was declared competent to stand trial.
  9. On January 10, 2017, the jury recommended the death penalty for him. On January 11, 2017, Judge Richard M. Gergel sentenced him to death by lethal injection. On April 10, 2017, he pleaded guilty to nine state counts of murder and was sentenced to nine consecutive sentences of life without parole. On April 22, 2017, he arrived at U.S. Penitentiary, Terre Haute (USP Terre Haute), a high-security U.S. federal prison for male inmates in Terre Haute, Indiana, USA. On May 10, 2017, Gergel denied his motion for a new trial and unsealed psychiatric reports from two court-ordered exams of him performed by Dr. James Ballenger, who concluded that he was competent to stand trial.
  10. On March 14, 2018, his sister Morgan was arrested after a school resource officer at the A.C. Flora High School in Columbia was notified that she was carrying marijuana, pepper spray and a knife on campus. In July 2018, she and Elizabeth Lecron, then 23, of Toledo, Ohio, USA started exchanging letter while he was on federal death row.
  11. Written and directed by Brian Tetsuro Ivie, a documentary about his crimes on June 17, 2015 titled “EMANUEL” was released in the U.S. on June 17, 2019.
  12. On January 27, 2020, his attorneys filed a 321-page brief arguing that his convictions and federal death sentence should be overturned.
  13. On August 25, 2021, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, USA unanimously upheld his conviction and death sentence and rejected arguments that he should have been ruled incompetent to stand trial in the shootings in Charleston on June 17, 2015.

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