Dylann Roof, the suspected shooter behind the attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston that left nine dead, told police that the murders almost didn't get carried out.
According to NBC News, Roof told authorities he “almost didn’t go through with it because everyone was so nice to him.”
On Friday, two law enforcement officials told CNN that Dylann Roof confessed to the shootings. Roof reportedly told authorities that he wanted to “start a race war”.
Roof was charged on Friday with nine counts of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
In a court hearing on Friday, Chief Magistrate James B. Gosnell Jr. set Roof’s bond at $1 million. Roof appeared in the bail hearing through a video stream from the Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston, S.C.
Family members of the nine victims spoke directly to Roof during the bond hearing.
“I forgive you,” Nadine Collier, daughter of slain victim, Ethel Lance, said to Roof, according to The Washington Post. “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”
On Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department said it would open a hate-crime investigation into the incident. If authorities determine that Roof committed a hate crime, he will be prosecuted, according to CNN.