Apparent Manifesto of Suspected Charleston Killer Dylann Roof Surfaces

A photo from a white supremacist website showing Dylann Storm Roof, the suspect in the Charleston, S.C., church shooting.
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A racist and chilling manifesto was discovered Saturday that may have been written by the suspected gunman in this week’s church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina.

The manifesto appeared on a website,, which also featured dozens of images of the suspect, Dylan Roof, 21, posing with weapons and visiting Southern historic sites.

Roof was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of killing nine worshipers, including a Democratic state senator who served as a pastor, at the historic black Emanuel AME church in Charleston. Roof has since been held without bond on murder charges.

In the manifesto, the writer spewed vitriol at black people, Jews, and other minority groups, writing that white people belong to a “superior” race.

The author called blacks “the biggest problem for Americans” and explained “the event that truly awakened me” as a racist was the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager in Florida who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman. The manifesto said it was “obvious” that Zimmerman, who was eventually acquitted of murder, “was in the right.”

In the wake of the Martin killing, the author wrote about coming across the website of a once-prominent white nationalist group called the Council of Conservative Citizens.

“There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief,” the manifesto’s author wrote. “At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?”

In a section labeled “An Explanation,” the writer said, “I have no choice….We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”

Though the manifesto was unsigned and it’s unclear who owns the site, the New York Times reported that the domain name was registered in February under the name Dylann Roof. The site also contained a link to a ZIP file containing dozens of images of Roof. In the photos, he appeared at historic locations, including Confederate soldiers’ graves, the Museum and Library of Confederate History, and a slave plantation, according to the Times. Other photos showed him posing with handguns and Confederate flags. In one, he sets fire to the American flag.

“I hate the sight of the American flag,” the manifesto said. “Modern American patriotism is an absolute joke. People pretending like they have something to be proud while White people are being murdered daily in the streets.”

According to a Gawker report, the website was uncovered by Twitter users @HenryKrinkle and @EMQuangel, who searched for Roof’s name in a Reverse Whois lookup on

Mark Pitcavage, who tracks extremists as the director of investigative research for the Anti-Defamation League, talked to TPM on Saturday about some key details in the manifesto.

For one, Pitcavage said, it appeared that the author had little to no interaction with organized hate groups, other than through the internet. The manifesto mentioned “research,” Wikipedia and white nationalist websites, but there were no references to real-life interactions with other extremists.

“It’s clear from this that he’s self-radicalized,” Pitcavage said. “He only talks about educating himself… This seems like a loner, like an introverted loner.”

He also noted that the website and manifesto try to paint the author as brave. Even the name of the website, Last Rhodesian, appears to be a reference to the former white-controlled nation of Rhodesia, which later became Zimbabwe. In photographs, Roof frequently wore a jacket with the flag of Rhodesia on the front of it. The flag has become a symbol for white supremacists.

“He clearly has this vision of himself as this lone, white warrior,” Pitcavage told TPM. “You can see it in the name of the website.”

Yet if the person who wrote the manifesto was the same one who killed nine unarmed people at a church Bible study, Pitcavage said it shows something entirely different.

“What he chooses is one of the softest targets imaginable, a church,” Pitcavage said. “This is someone, a terrorist, who clearly was a coward.”

This post has been updated.

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Notable Replies

  1. But don’t worry…even though he laid out how racist his motivation was, the GOP and FOX will find some way, some how to make sure that this is about white victimhood and attacks on Christianity.

  2. What? It’s almost as if he took rightwing rhetorical literally, and really does think he’s facing some epic struggle for freedom, rather than it being a metaphorical struggle they’re only pretending threatens our freedom because they’re bored.

    I mean, seriously. If the stuff they talked about on talk radio was accurate, then everyone should be doing what he was doing. But since it’s all just a game, the usual suspects who say this stuff will deny all blame, because they were only speaking for entertainment purposes only and didn’t intend for anyone to act upon what they’re saying.

  3. That’s ok, Fox News, John Eillis Bush, Rick Santorum, Rudy Giuliani and conservatives et al still won’t own up to it or admit they know why he did it other than to desperately and dishonestly spin it as an attack on “religious liberty”, or blaming it on there not being enough guns, etc. etc.

    Hell the Gov. of the State won’t even do the bare min. of symbolic gestures such as removing the Confederate flag flying on the Capitol grounds, she won’t even lower it to half-mast for fucks sake, much less do any of the heavy lifting of actual leadership or the politically courageous but needed things like reduce access to human killing devices to any nut-ball out there. Something she has already rejected out of hand I might add.

    But those who call out racists, push to curb gun violence, and/or want an honest discussion about continuing racism and inequality in society… well, according to “conservatives” those people are the real racist, the race hustlers, the players of “the race card”, nanny-statists, etc. etc.

    I am so sick of it, and I say that as a white male. I can’t even begin to fathom being a person of color who is on the receiving end of racial discrimination in our society. I really am sick in my stomach that this is where we are, with nearly half our nation in abject denial, and semi-blindly enabling this shit.

  4. Yet the Reich Wing will still claim that we “don’t know” if this is a racism-motivated attack.

  5. I thought Darling Nikki made it all pretty clear that the flag isn’t coming down until “it’s bad for tourism, bad for business.”

    Let’s see if I can remember how to spell BOYCOTT. Voilà!

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