Criminologist ponders mindset of church shooter

Criminologist ponders mindset of church shooter

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A local criminologist said the suspect in the Charleston church massacre should have been on the radar of someone in authority.

Meanwhile, one of his friends said he took a gun from 21-year-old Dylann Roof just hours before the shooting rampage, but did he have a responsibility to call police on his friend?

"He was just saying how he didn't agree with the Trayvon Martin case and how he wanted segregation. He wanted it to be white with white and black with black, and he didn't believe in what the black race was doing to the white race," said Joey Meek of his friend in the aftermath of the shooting.

Authorities said Roof entered the historic Emanuel AME Church earlier this week where he was welcomed into the bible study that was underway. Still, authorities said he turned into a killer.

Now criminologists are pondering what might have been Roof's mindset at the time.

"He's part of this white supremacist, 'kill all African-Americans,' but did he initiate it, was he led, was he coached?" said LSU Health Criminologist Peter Scharf, Ph.D.

Meek said his friend had recently begun to spew hatred towards blacks, and even talked about doing something for the white race, because in his view, blacks were taking over the world. Meek said earlier this week that he took a gun from Roof because he was drunk, but when he sobered up, he returned the weapon.

All of the shooting victims were African-American.

Scharf is not convinced that Roof was not already on law enforcement or some other agency's radar.

"There was enough with the arrests, these statements, you know, he might have been and they're not acknowledging it, because nobody wants to acknowledge that he was on the radar and they missed him, with all the social media statements, you know folks monitor that stuff," he said.

Many wonder whether Roof's friend should have shared his concerns with authorities.

"If he would have said, 'I'm going to go shoot up this church, this location, on this day at this time,' maybe you'd have a certain obligation, but not him saying I'm going to do something bad - because they can't do anything with that information," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

Raspanti said Meek is not a "mandatory reporter" like medical professionals or officers of the court.

"He could have gone to the police, but the police would have said, thanks for that information, but I don't know what we're going to do with it, maybe it would have been better to go to some healthcare professional that may have been a better result," Raspanti said.

Scharf and Raspanti both said there is such a thing as a moral obligation.

"We say that all the time in the inner-city, you know they were going to do drive up by on someone why didn't you talk, this kid is the same standard, you know we all have a duty to save life," said Scharf.

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