You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
top story

Friend says Dylann Roof desired black women, wanted face tattoo in weeks before Emanuel AME Church shooting

  • Updated
Dylann Roof faces second competency hearing (copy) (copy)

Dylann Roof poses with a Confederate flag in his bedroom in Eastover. The photo is among dozens Roof took to accompany an online racist manifesto he posted before the Emanuel AME Church massacre in June 2015. File

Dylann Roof gave off an "odd vibe" when he reconnected with an old friend two years ago, downing vodka, cocaine and marijuana as he spoke of his attraction to black women, his quest for a face tattoo and his desire to start a race war, according to newly released court documents. 

Joey Meek, one of Roof's only friends, shared these observations of the Emanuel AME Church gunman as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors that he hoped would spare him a lengthy prison term.

Meek, 22, has pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony and lying to federal agents after the hate-motivated slayings of nine black worshippers.

Meek's attorney, Deborah Barbier, filed a 57-page motion Friday that included detailed notes she compiled from a September meeting between Meek and government lawyers, as well as an October session her client had with a mental health expert working with prosecutors. According to those notes:

Meek met Roof in middle school after Roof’s mother approached Meek while he was skateboarding around their neighborhood in Columbia. She told Meek that her son had no friends and asked him to talk with Roof, who was very shy.

Meek said he sensed that Roof’s family was better off than his own, and he grew jealous. Meek had grown up in an abusive household and turned to alcohol and drugs early to cope. Roof, on the other hand, seemed to do what he pleased, and his parents had good homes, as well as a boat, a pool and other toys.

“When asked about Dylann’s demeanor, Joey responded that Dylann was a nervous person and had an odd vibe. He said that he was a clean freak and used a lot of acne wash. He noted that Dylann did not like the outdoors. He stated that Dylann carried a black shower bag with him that had body wash and deodorant in it.”

Meek described Roof as being “different,” but he did have some friends. He would talk to girls but would never ask them out. Roof had inquired about two Mexican girls who lived in their neighborhood. He told Meek he had a crush on one of the girls, who he considered "hot." He also had expressed an attraction to a black dancer he saw in a strip club in May 2015 but he didn't have the courage to talk with her. Roof told his friend that he had sex with a black girl in Eastover one time.

It was in May 2015 that Meek and Roof reconnected after drifting apart in high school. Roof sent Meek a Facebook message, explaining that he had seen his photo at an online mugshot website. Roof had cut his shoulder-length hair and now sported a bowl cut. He had an affinity for Timberland boots. The pair smoked marijuana, snorted cocaine, drank vodka and played video games. During these sessions, Roof confided some odd thoughts to his friend.

“Joey said that Dylann told him that he wanted to get a tattoo on his face of a dagger. He relayed that this idea came to him from a movie. Dylann said that the tattoo people would not do the tattoo on his face.”

About a week before the Emanuel massacre, Roof told his friend about his plan to kill people in Charleston. They were downing drinks and drugs at the time, sitting in the kitchen of Meek’s family's trailer home.

“Dylann started talking about wanting to start a race war and segregation. Dylann described that in Africa, white people were with white people and black people were with black people. Africa was segregated. Dylann said there were no blacks in China and started giving statistics.

“Joey stated that he could tell that Dylann had been doing some research. Dylann said that he wanted to kill black people at an AME church because it was a historic church. Dylann said that Martin Luther King had been to this church. Dylann said that he had been to the church before to question someone when they had Bible study.”

Meek did not realize at the time that the AME church was predominantly black. But Roof also shared his racist views on black crime and other issues he had studied up on.

“Dylann told Joey that he would kill himself afterwards and that he was going to use a black fanny pack.”

Roof also noted that he was going to do it on a Wednesday because there were fewer people at the church. Roof said he had been planning this attack for six months.

A week later, Roof walked into Emanuel AME Church during a Wednesday night Bible study and unleashed a barrage of 77 bullets as the assembled worshippers offered their closing prayer. 

Reach Glenn Smith at 843-937-5556 or follow him on Twitter @glennsmith5.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News

Columbia Breaking News

Greenville Breaking News

Myrtle Beach Breaking News

Aiken Breaking News