By Mitch Weiss and Michael Biesecker, AP
COLUMBIA, South Carolina — A black drinking buddy of the white man accused of killing nine people at a Charleston church says the suspect told him a week earlier that he planned to shoot up a college campus in the city.
The friend, Christon Scriven, told The Associated Press on Friday that he thought Dylann Roof’s statements were just drunken bluster. Still, Scriven said he was concerned enough that he and another friend, Joey Meek, went out to Roof’s car and retrieved his .45-caliber handgun, hiding it in an air-conditioning vent of a mobile home until they all sobered up.
��He just said he was going to hurt a bunch of people�� at the College of Charleston, said Scriven, 22.
��I said, ‘What did you say? Why do you want to hurt those people in Charleston?’�� ��He just said, ‘In seven days … I have seven days.’�� A week later, on Wednesday, authorities say the 21-year-old Roof went into Charleston’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, sat for nearly an hour at a Bible study class, and then opened fire on the participants.
The exchange recounted by Scriven matches accounts from other friends of Roof who have been interviewed by the AP.
They described him as a troubled and confused young man who alternated between partying with black friends and ranting against blacks to his white friends.
Four months before the deadly shooting rampage, court records show Roof was arrested at a Columbia shopping mall on a misdemeanor drug charge after going around dressed all in black, asking suspicious questions about when stores closed and employees left for the night. He was later arrested again, this time for trespassing at the mall despite being banned from the premises.
On his Facebook profile, Roof posted a photo of himself wearing a jacket adorned with the flags of the now defunct white-supremacist regimes in South Africa and Rhodesia, yet he also counted several black people among his online social connections. Not Feeling Love Scriven lives next door to Joey Meek in a Lexington, South Carolina, mobile home park where residents say Roof was a frequent visitor in recent months. Meek and his family were close to Roof until Roof dropped out of their high school. The two lost touch for several years before recently reconnecting, Meek said.