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Charleston shooter’s manifesto reveals hate group helped to radicalize him

Today, we found out more about how the suspected Charleston church shooter, 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof, became a violent racist extremist at such a young age.

Today, we found out more about how the suspected Charleston church shooter, 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof, became a violent racist extremist at such a young age.

On his website, Roof left a 2,000-word manifesto in which he identifies himself as a white nationalist and says he was “truly awakened” to his beliefs after reading the online propaganda of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a notorious, racist hate group.

“I have no choice,” he writes. “Someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”

We’re not surprised.

Roof fits the profile of the lone wolf terrorist radicalized in the echo chamber of racist websites that increasingly promote a global white nationalist agenda. In his manifesto, Roof wrote that he began researching “black on White” crime after the Trayvon Martin incident and found “pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders,” then discovered the “same things were happening” in Western European countries. 

This is the kind of propaganda used by hate groups to push a “white genocide” narrative, the idea that white people are under attack by people of color across the world.

Recently, we released an investigative report about Stormfront, the largest white supremacist website in the world with 300,000 registered users, two-thirds of whom are Americans. Its users have murdered nearly 100 people in the past five years.

This spring, we issued a study on lone wolves like Roof who commit acts of terror. We found that a domestic terror attack or foiled plot occurred every 34 days over the last six years.

With your support, we’re working closely with law enforcement at every level to combat this threat and are advising federal anti-terror officials as part of a council of experts.

We’ll continue to provide updates as we find out more. In the meantime, you can follow the news and our analysis as it happens on Facebook, Twitter and Hatewatch blog.