Christon Scriven, a friend of Dylann Storm Roof has told how the Charleston shooter, had originally planned to impart a massacre at local College of Charleston before changing plans and gunning down 9 bible attending members of Emanuel A.M.E. Church.
According to a report via AP the 22 year old black ‘drinking buddy’ of Roof, told how Rood came to mouth off his intentions during a recent drinking session.
Scriven said he didn’t believe Roof would actually carry out his plans for a mass shooting – but was still scared he could turn violent, so hid his gun when he wasn’t looking.
He and another friend – Roof’s high school pal Joey Meek – stashed Dylan Roof’s .45-caliber handgun, a birthday present, in an air condition vent, before relenting and returning Roof’s gun.
Roof would go on to use the weapon in the church massacre just days later.
Scriven has said he and other friends are now racked with guilt and have come to ask themselves if they ought to have first gone to authorities after their friend’s plans were made known to them.
Scriven said they would often drink in the Lexington, South Carolina, trailer park along where he lives next door to Meek, who originally introduced the two.
‘One night we all got drunk together and since then, me and Dylann were just homeboys,’ Scriven said. ‘We would just chill every day.’
Describing Roof’s plan for a college shooting, he said: ‘He just said he was going to hurt a bunch of people.’
‘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.”‘
Scriven speculated that Roof could have backed down from attacking the College of Charleston once he realized it has security.
He said: ‘I don’t think the church was his primary target because he told us he was going for the school. But I think he couldn’t get into the school because of the security… so I think he just settled for the church.’
Of note the university doesn’t have a particularly large black student following, where according to a report via the Charleston Post, black student enrollment hadn’t budged beyond 6 percent in recent years.
A consideration that may have also led to Roof changing his mind as his overriding issue was with the domination of white supremacy and the segregation and diminution of blacks.
Post killings, Roof had confessed that he hoped his actions would spark a race war.
Survivors of the attack said they heard tell his victims he was killing them because black people ‘rape our women‘ and are ‘taking over our country – and you have to go’.
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.
But Scriven said that he never spoke with Roof about race, instead chatting about fishing, NASCAR and guns. Roof’s now-deleted social media accounts also listed several black people as friends.
One of them, Caleb Brown, knew Roof in grade school and high school. He said: ‘He never once said anything to me derogatory, racist, anything like that. Otherwise we would have not been friends.’
Speaking to CBS News, he said neither Roof nor his family seemed to be hateful people.
He said: ‘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.’
But Roof’s other drinking buddy, Meek, who is white, said Thursday that he had heard Roof drunkenly make racist rants in the past.
Scriven said that in the course of their friendship, Roof confessed that he was unhappy, bouncing between the homes of his divorced parents.
He would stay for days at the mobile home park, smoking cigarettes and drinking hard, before going home for a few days to get clothes and money.
Scriven said he could tell Roof was depressed, and that he complained that he wasn’t getting the love and emotional support he needed from his parents. When he got upset, Roof would retreat to his car, blasting a cassette tape of opera.
He said: ‘I don’t think his parents liked his decisions, the choices that he made to have black friends,’
‘His mom had taken the gun from him and somehow he went back and took it from her. … That’s when we saw the gun for the first time: .45 with a high-point laser beam.’
A gun that he would soon come to use. A gun some have come to wonder why Roof’s parents had come to give to their son in light of recent arrests and troubling signs after dropping out of school and perennially unemployed had yet to find his way.