Charleston shooting: Uncle was worried about the man suspected of church massacre

Man was given a pistol by a father for his 21st birthday

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The uncle of the man suspected of a shooting that left nine people dead at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina has said he expressed worry about the man’s well-being.

Carson Cowles told Reuters that he told the mother of suspect Dylann Roof that he was worried the man was too introverted.

“I said he was like 19 years old, he still didn't have a job, a driver's license or anything like that and he just stayed in his room a lot of the time,” Mr Cowles said, adding that he had tried to mentor Mr Roof.

“He didn't like that, and me and him kind of drifted apart,” Mr Cowles said.

Mr Roof is suspected of attending a bible study at the Charleston church before he allegedly opened fire on the parishioners, leaving nine dead. He was arrested in Shelby, North Carolina late Thursday morning.

Mr Cowles said he recognized Mr Roof in a photo released by police as they launched a manhunt for the suspect. He described the man as quiet and soft-spoken, Reuters reported.

Mr Roof allegedly got a .45-caliber pistol for his birthday this year.

“I actually talked to him on the phone briefly for just a few moments and he was saying well I'm outside target practicing with my new gun,” Mr Cowles told Reuters about a phone call made around the time of Mr Roof's birthday in April.

“Nobody in my family had seen anything like this coming. I said, if it is him, and when they catch him, he's got to pay for this.”