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Florist Heading to Work Spotted Alleged Church Gunman Dylann Roof

by Phil Helsel /  / Updated 

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A woman heading in to work at a florist shop in North Carolina Thursday morning led police to a man accused of gunning down nine people at a historic African-American church in South Carolina the night before.

Debbie Dills spotted the black car being driven by alleged gunman Dylann Roof at around 10:20 a.m. and called a friend, who notified police, NBC station WCNC in Charlotte reported.

"I paid close attention to the pictures on TV, but I thought, 'No. It can't be him,'" Dills, of Gastonia, N.C., told the station. "I noticed the car. And I noticed the boy's haircut," Dills said.

Dills, who was on her way to work at Frady’s Florist, followed the black Hyundai along Highway 74 while the man she called, Todd Frady, called Kings Mountain Police, who notified Shelby Police and led to Roof's arrest. the station reported.

Roof, 21, is accused of opening fire at a Bible study meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston at around 9 p.m. Wednesday, killing nine people, including the church pastor, the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, who is also a state senator. The massacre is being investigated as a hate crime.

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Attempts to reach Frady and Dills by NBC News were not immediately successful. Kings Mountain Police confirmed that a call about the suspicious car was made to that department, and they notified Shelby police.

Shelby police said they got the call from Kings Mountain Police at 10:32 a.m., and by 10:43 a.m. officers observed the car and made the traffic stop and took Roof into custody. Shelby is about 245 miles northwest of Charleston.

Dills said she was nervous as she followed Roof’s car until she saw police. "I thought please don't let him think I'm following him," Dills told the station.

She said the tragic events in Charleston weighed heavy on her mind that morning, and she downplayed her role in the arrest.

"It's nothing to do with me — I'm telling you, the Lord had me where I needed to be on [U.S.] 74, he had me watching the news," Dills said.

"We just did our jobs as Christians and citizens," she told the station.

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