Twitter user says patch on shooting suspect’s clothing an image of former South Africa flag

Many aspects of events at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday evening are confusing, but one of the most puzzling involves the shooting suspect’s clothing. 

Charleston police and federal authorities are investigating a mass shooting that occurred about 9 p.m. on Wednesday at the church, self-described as the oldest AME church in the South. Media report at least 9 people were killed during services on an evening when most churches in the South hold mid-week prayer services or Bible studies and choirs usually practice.

Photos of the suspect have been released by the city of Charleston and the police department. The suspect wore a sweatshirt over a t-shirt. No one who has ever visited what South Carolinians often call “The Holy City” would wear layered clothing on a day as hot as Wednesday.

Charleston has been under a heat advisory for days. TV Live 5 (WCSC) reported:

“Temperatures are expected to top out at 99 degrees Wednesday, with the heat index ranging from 105 to 110 degrees due to muggy conditions…At 7 p.m., temperatures were already in the low 80s, with the head index hitting 89 degrees.” 

Why did the suspect cover most of his skin, not only with the shirts but also with long pants and what appear to be boots?

Was the suspect covering tattoos or scars that might have provided clues to his identity? Did he wear the outer shirt as a sort of security blanket, common among some individuals who have mental problems? It makes no sense in light of the weather because Charleston’s humidity makes a hot day even more miserable.

The photos provided by the authorities aren’t very clear, as some media pointed out on Twitter. The suspect is described as a “white male.”

According to Mapquest, it appears access to the area where the church is located is limited right now, with several streets closed. The church is part of downtown Charleston’s historic fabric, and many of us who have frequented the city are shocked that something like this could occur.

Among those who were killed was state Sen. Clementa Pinckney (D), pastor at the church. Pinckney began his political career at the young age of 23 when he won a seat in the state House of Representatives in 1996.

The city’s police department is providing regular updates via Twitter (@CharlestonPD), and many posts on that social media site are also related to the shootings. One user posted a message about the fact the shooter didn’t come in with gun drawn:

“Brandon Wall ‏@Walldo

Reporter asks for clarification: Suspect sat in prayer meeting for an hour?

Charleston PD Chief: “That’s exactly what happened.”

Police described the alleged shooter: “Suspect in shooting on Calhoun St is a w/m approx 21 slender small build wearing a grey sweat shirt blue jeans timberland boots clean shaven.”

The Daily Mail repeated unsubstantiated information based on hearsay:

“On Thursday, a cousin of one of the victims, Pastor and South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney, told NBC News that she had spoken to one of the survivors who recounted the gunman’s chilling words as they urged him to stop.

‘He just said: “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go”,’ Sylvia Johnson said.

The gunman spared one woman so she could ‘tell the world what happened’, eye witnesses recounted, while a five-year-old girl also survived the attack after her grandmother told her to play dead when the shooter started firing.”

Media also say the suspect’s car, a “black four door sedan” has “a distinctive license plate,” but no specifics have been given.

Charleston’s mayor, Joe Riley (D), has held office for decades, and he is an outspoken proponent of stricter gun laws.

As I was about to publish this, new reports emerged on Twitter that the suspect is believed to be Dylann Storm Roof, a 21 year old who lived in the Eastover area in the state’s capital city, Columbia. WIS TV also said the man had a previous arrest for drugs in a neighboring county.

More information about the alleged suspect is posted on the popular site Gateway Pundit.

Some users on Twitter claimed a purported Facebook photo of the suspect showed him in a jacket bearing a patch of a flag South Africa used until 1994.

Leftists on social media are already politicizing the incident, but what remains to be seen is a question about whether the suspect is on any medications for mental illness. Those medications are a common thread among a number of mass shootings like the Navy Yard shootings. In 2013 a gunman who had been prescribed a variety of medications killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.

Mass media have ignored the implications of psych medications in mass shootings, but alt-media have long questioned the implications. Any drug prescribed for a mental illness must be monitored closely and taken precisely, but as with the Navy Yard shooter, protocol is sometimes not followed by physicians or the patients. Combining such medications with street drugs would be a recipe for disaster.

Leftist media immediately began to politicize the shootings because the suspect is white and the victims were black.

Charleston shooting suspect flier.

Flier about Charleston shooting suspect released by Charleston PD and the city.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/June 18, 2015)

About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.

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