The FBI has told a friend of accused Charleston gunman Dylann Roof it is investigating him over the shooting deaths of nine church members and that agents believe he may have lied about what he knew about the crime.
Federal agents delivered a so-called “target letter” to Joey Meek, 21, telling him that he was under investigation for allegedly lying to police and for knowing about a crime before or after it was committed but failing to report it. The delivery of such a letter usually comes before a charge, legal experts have said.
Mr Meek, from Lexington, South Carolina, told the Associated Press that Mr Roof had occasionally stayed with him at a mobile home in Red Bank, about 20 miles from Columbia, before the June 17 shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
He said he and Mr Roof were school friends but went their separate ways. Then, just weeks before the shooting, Mr Roof started coming around again to his home.
He also said that on one occasion, Mr Roof, while drunk on vodka, complained that “blacks were taking over the world and someone needed to do something about it for the white race.”
Mr Meek is currently on probation, having pleaded guilty earlier this year to possessing a stolen vehicle, according to Lexington County court records.
Lindsey Fry, Meek's girlfriend, told the AP that Mr Meek had a good job repairing air conditioners, that he fears going to jail and has been trying to get a lawyer since receiving the letter.
“He’s got a good job now,” she said. “He’s paying probation. We’re supposed to move soon. We’re trying to save money for a car. But now we have to do this.”
News of the dispatch of the letter was first reported by The State newspaper. Mr Meek told the newspaper: "I’m still reaping what he sowed. I’m looked at like a criminal because of his actions.”
Mr Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder over the attack on the historic black church that left nine people dead.
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