A North Carolina florist says she was just in the right place at the right time when she made the phone call that tipped police off to the whereabouts of Dylann Roof, the man suspected of killing nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting Wednesday night.
Debbie Dills told the Shelby Star she had been thinking about the victims on her way into work at Frady’s Florist on Thursday morning.
She said she had also seen pictures of Roof, and the car he was thought to be driving, in the news and knew he hadn’t yet been caught. And that’s why a black Hyundai Elantra on the highway caught her eye.
“I saw the pictures of him with the bowl cut. I said, ‘I've seen that car for some reason,’” she told the Star. “I look over, and it's got a South Carolina tag on it. I thought, ‘Nah, that's not his car.’ Then, I got closer and saw that haircut. I was nervous. I had the worst feeling. Is that him or not him?”
Dills said she called her boss, Todd Frady, to ask his advice.
“I think that I have just passed the car the boy was driving that killed the people in Charleston,” Dills told WGHP, recounting what she said to her boss.
Frady told the Star he called the Kings Mountain Police Department to tell them what his employee had seen, and where. They relayed the information to Shelby Police.
Dills told WGHP she continued to follow the Hyundai.
“But I was able to see him. I was able to get behind him,” she said. “I was able to get his tag number. I was directly behind him at a stoplight.”
About 20 minutes after Dill made her first phone call, Shelby Police had pulled over the 21-year-old suspect and arrested him.
Shelby Police Chief Jeff Ledford told WGHP that once police had Roof in custody they notified Charleston authorities that they had their suspect.
WCSC News reports Roof has since been extradited back to South Carolina where he is in custody at Charleston County’s Al Cannon Detention Center.
Police reported this morning that Roof had confessed to the crime, and said he had wanted to incite a race war.
Photo Credit: WGHP News