Charleston shooting: Police catch suspect Dylann Roof in North Carolina

Reports say he was caught in Shelby, North Carolina

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The suspect being chased in the deadly gun attack on a church in South Carolina has been apprehended, police have revealed.

Police have revealed that 21-year-old Dylann Roof, a resident of Lexington Country, South Carolina, was captured in the town of Shelby, North Carolina, located 220 miles north of Charleston.

Police had issued images that showed what appeared to be the young man as he left the church in Charleston, South Carolina.

"I'm very, very pleased to confirm that we have made an arrest in the case," said Police Chief Gregory Mullen on Thursday morning. "Thirty minutes ago, he was stopped in Shelby, North Carolina, at a traffic stop."

Police had said that the suspect was extremely dangerous and that local and federal officers had been involved in the hunt for him. He was detained in possession of a .45 calibre handgun. It was not clear whether it was the same weapon that was used to carry out the shooting at the church.

"This individual committed a tragic, heinous crime last night," said Mr Mullen.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said her office was investigating whether to charge Mr Roof with a hate crime motivated by racial or other prejudice. Such crimes typically carry harsher penalties.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre, which researches US hate groups, said the attack illustrates the dangers that home-grown extremists pose.

"Since 9/11, our country has been fixated on the threat of Jihadi terrorism. But the horrific tragedy at the Emanuel AME reminds us that the threat of homegrown domestic terrorism is very real," the group said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.