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Months before taking the lives of nine people at Charleston’s Emanuel AME ChurchDylann Roof visited the South’s most notorious slave plantations and landmarks, and then shared his experiences on his blog.

According to Daily Mail:

The 21-year-old posted images of himself visiting the sites steeped in racial history on his blog – where he also penned a ranting, racist manifesto calling for a new civil war in America.

His website, LastRhodesian.com – which has now been removed from the web – featured a timeline of very disturbing photos, proving his behavior became more erratic as time went on.

Meanwhile, Dylann’s friends are speaking out on their experiences with him. BBC News reports:

Christon Scriven, 21, told the BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan that Mr Roof “wanted to shoot that school up – UCA university of Charleston – it’s 3 miles up the street from that church.”

Mr Scriven said Dylann Roof “had no intention of harming those people in that church”.

He also said that he had “never said anything racist, never treated me any different”.

Roof’s friends didn’t believe he would follow through with the shooting, but they were scared that he could still turn violent.

National Rifle Association board member Charles Cotton says Charleston victim Clementa Pinckney is responsible for his own death, as well as the death of his church members.

In a now-deleted comment on Think Progress, Cotton had this to say:

Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue.

To view photos of Dylann’s eerie past, click here.

In more positive news… this morning, Emanuel AME Church held its first service since the shooting.

ABCNews reports:

Emanuel African Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, held its first service today since nine people were killed during a Bible study at the church last week.

The emotional service was filled beyond capacity with more than 1,200 people inside. Hundreds more stayed outside the church — clapping, praying and singing along as audio from inside came out from speakers outside.

“Many of our hearts are broken,” said Elder Norvil Goff. “Many of us are still shedding tears, but I know a man who can answer all of our questions. But you and I must bring our burdens to the Lord and leave them there.”

Our prayers go out to the victims’ families during this tragic time.

SOURCE: Daily Mail, BBC News, Gawker, ABCNews| PHOTO/VIDEO CREDIT: News Inc., Getty

Dylann Roof Visited The South’s Most Notorious Slave Plantations Months Before Shooting, Friend Claims He Isn’t Racist  was originally published on globalgrind.com