The family of a white man who fatally shot nine people at a historic black church in Charleston said Friday they are "devastated and saddened" over the murders, and expressed condolences to the victims’ families.
"The Roof Family would like to extend their deepest sympathies and condolences to families of the victims in Wednesday night's shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston," the family said in a statement.
"Words cannot express our shock, grief, and disbelief as to what happened that night. We are devastated and saddened by what occurred. We offer our prayers sympathy for all of those impacted by these events."
Dylann Roof, 21, is charged with nine counts of murder for the killings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Wednesday night. Police say he was welcomed into a Bible study session, and when it was over he pulled out a handgun and opened fire. Police believe the attack was a hate crime.
Roof was captured in North Carolina a day after the killings. He appeared in court for the first time Friday.
Dylann Roof on Shooting: ‘I Almost Didn’t Go Through With It’June 19, 201502:39
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those killed this week. We have all been touched by the moving words from the victims' families offering God's forgiveness and love in the face of such horrible suffering," the family said in the statement.
"Our hope and prayer is for peace and healing for the families of the victims, the Charleston community, and those touched by these events throughout the state of South Carolina and our nation."