A friend of the Charleston church shooter claims Dylann Roof’s original plan was to target a local college campus, and not the church.
"He said that he was going to the college, to shoot the college up," Christon Scriven, 22, told NBC News. "I think that because that college campus is so hard to get onto … maybe he couldn't get into that school, and he settled on that church."
Roof reportedly told Scriven and another friend, Justin Meek, 17, about his plan one week before the shooting.
Scriven says Roof told them he had recently purchased a handgun and that he was the registered owner. Law enforcement sources have confirmed that Roof had indeed purchased the gun used in the shooting.
Fearing Roof could be violent, Scriven and Meek hid his .45-caliber handgun in an air conditioning vent, reports The Daily Mail. They returned the gun to him after they had all sobered up.
Police have said Roof targeted the church because it is a significant place for the black community and that they believe the attack was a hate crime.
Scriven, who is black, said he has never heard Roof use racial slurs or make complaints against African Americans.
Meek claims that Roof did have drunken racist rants in the past.
Roof allegedly said in Meek’s presence that “blacks were taking over the world” and that “someone needed to do something about it for the white race.”
Upon hearing Roof’s plan about a college shooting, Scriven took it to be a joke; Roof never brought it up again.
"He just said on Wednesday, everything was going to happen," Scriven said. "He said they had seven days."
Scriven was shocked to hear the news that Roof was responsible for the shooting.
"I just ran through my head that he did it," Scriven said. "Like, he really went and did what he said he was going to do."
A friend of Roof’s from grade school and high school said he never showed any type of racism during those years.
“If something in him turned, then it was recent. It wasn't his whole life; he wasn't sitting, bubbling with hatred towards black people — no, that just happened and I don't know why,” the friend said.
Scriven and other friends of Roof are now feeling guilty because they may have been able to stop the killings.
“I think everyone feels guilt,” Scriven said. “There are a lot of things that happen in life that we just don't understand and we'll never understand. And this situation is something that you're not going to find the answers to from ordinary people ... The only person that can tell you is Dylann.”
Roof admitted to the shooting and has been charged with nine counts of murder.
Photo Credit: The Daily Mail