A new analysis of writings posted to a neo-Nazi website suggest that Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old held in last week’s killings in Charleston, S.C., was steeped in the online white supremacist movement for months, if not longer.
Roof allegedly shot and killed nine African Americans during Bible study Wednesday at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.
“He’s clearly spent a lot of time situating himself in a very complicated network,” said Keegan Hankes, a research analyst with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch group.
Trying to confirm the authenticity of a 2,444-word “manifesto” uncovered Saturday on a website owned by Roof, Hankes ran the document’s text through plagiarism-detection software and found that one key passage was nearly identical to a comment left on a neo-Nazi website by a user named AryanBlood1488.
In his manifesto, Roof, who calls himself “The Last Rhodesian,” writes: “I mean that our culture has been adopted by everyone in the world. This makes us feel as though our culture isnt [sic] special or unique.”
Hankes found a nearly identical statement from Jan. 31 on The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi site, in which AryanBlood1488 writes, “White culture is World Culture, and by that I don’t mean that our culture is made up of ones from around the world, I mean that our culture has been adopted by everyone in the world. This makes us feel as if it isn’t special, because everyone has adopted it.”
The Daily Stormer site features a freewheeling open-forum section, Hankes said, a space in which “someone might go to have their new racial opinions vulcanized.”
The comments, if confirmed as those of Roof, could also offer what Hankes called a “disturbing moment of foreshadowing” to last week’s attack, which killed nine African-American churchgoers. Roof allegedly told a friend weeks before the attack that African-Americans “were taking over the world” and that “someone needed to do something about it for the white race.”
In the online comments, the user AryanBlood1488 notes that one of the strengths of white people “is that we dont [sic] see ourselves as victims like all the other races.”
In other news, President Obama on Monday said he and Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Charleston this Friday to attend funeral services for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, pastor of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Obama said he will deliver Pinckney’s eulogy.
Also on Monday, the city of Charleston said donors had given nearly $226,000 to two funds set up to support the church and “vulnerable populations and youth projects” that Pinckney was passionate about.
The city said donors can give online through www.bidr.co/prayforcharleston or www.palmettoproject.org, or by texting “prayforcharleston” to (843) 606-5995.