Charleston racist shooter Roof wanted an AR-15; had magazines, accessory

Updated 11:58 AM EDT, Fri June 26, 2015
The men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. lead a crowd of people in prayer outside the Emanuel AME Church, Friday, June 19, 2015.
Stephen B. Morton/AP
The men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. lead a crowd of people in prayer outside the Emanuel AME Church, Friday, June 19, 2015.
Now playing
02:09
Victims of church massacre laid to rest in Charleston
hate wont win campaign charleston church intv lemon ctn_00000407.jpg
hate wont win campaign charleston church intv lemon ctn_00000407.jpg
Now playing
01:32
'Hate Won't Win' campaign grabs attention from Obama
pinckney procession south carolina sot lv banfield_00002224.jpg
pinckney procession south carolina sot lv banfield_00002224.jpg
Now playing
01:14
Slain pastor's body taken to state Capitol
tribute to charleston church shooting victims singing ac_00010501.jpg
tribute to charleston church shooting victims singing ac_00010501.jpg
Now playing
01:07
Crowd unites by singing in Charleston
charleston church shooting  tywanza felicia sanders machado erin dnt_00003820.jpg
Instagram
charleston church shooting tywanza felicia sanders machado erin dnt_00003820.jpg
Now playing
02:33
Friends remember shooting victim Tywanza Sanders
Now playing
02:49
Remembering Charleston church shooting victims
susie jackson remembered tuchman sot ac_00022815.jpg
susie jackson remembered tuchman sot ac_00022815.jpg
Now playing
02:56
Family remembers matriarch killed in Charleston shooting
charleston church shooting victim's friend speaks ac bts_00011117.jpg
charleston church shooting victim's friend speaks ac bts_00011117.jpg
Now playing
02:00
Charleston victim's friend: She laid on her son's blood
South Carolina Senate Democrats
Now playing
01:16
Rep. Sanford: Pastor Pinckney 'considerate and warm'
friends victim charleston church shooting lemon intv ctn_00004616.jpg
Instagram
friends victim charleston church shooting lemon intv ctn_00004616.jpg
Now playing
03:10
Friends of Tywanza Sanders: He was always smiling
A South Carolina State Trooper walks past as people gather for a vigil while services are held at Morris Brown AME Church June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. US police on Thursday arrested a 21-year-old white gunman suspected of killing nine people at a prayer meeting in one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston, an attack being probed as a hate crime. The shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the southeastern US city was one of the worst attacks on a place of worship in the country in recent years, and comes at a time of lingering racial tensions
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
A South Carolina State Trooper walks past as people gather for a vigil while services are held at Morris Brown AME Church June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. US police on Thursday arrested a 21-year-old white gunman suspected of killing nine people at a prayer meeting in one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston, an attack being probed as a hate crime. The shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the southeastern US city was one of the worst attacks on a place of worship in the country in recent years, and comes at a time of lingering racial tensions
Now playing
02:01
Charleston church shooting victims identified
Charleston Police Department
Now playing
01:31
Cops: 3 males, 6 females killed in Charleston massacre
South Carolina Senate Democrats
Now playing
03:15
Cousin: Charleston shooting victim a 'peacemaker'
Now playing
02:53
Nine killed, three survived 'hate crime' attack

Story highlights

He had been asking at a shopping mall about the number of people who worked there

Then police found six 40-round magazine clips for an AR-15 in his car

(CNN) —  

As Charleston gradually lays to rest nine shooting victims from last week’s church massacre, a police report reveals self-confessed shooter Dylann Roof had wanted a much deadlier weapon.

Earlier this year, he told an officer he wanted an AR-15 assault rifle.

A search of Roof’s car turned up six crescent-shaped, 40-round magazines in the trunk.

“That’s scary,” former U.S. Attorney and State Law Enforcement Division Director Reggie Lloyd told The State newspaper, which first reported the development.

“We ought to be thankful he never got his hands on an AR-15.”

Drug bust

Police had an eye on Roof for months before he shot dead nine African-American worshipers in cold blood on June 17. An officer arrested him on drug possession in late February.

During the bust, something bothered the officer. Roof had been asking suspicious questions at a shopping mall, The State reported: When does it close? And how many people work there?

The officer made note of the suspicious questions in a police report. Roof was released after the drug arrest on his own recognizance.

Magazines found

Then, on March 13, the same officer spotted Roof loitering in his car for hours at a public park. He was wearing all black, the police report said.

Because the officer was off-duty at the time, he alerted another to investigate. The second officer asked Roof if he could search the car. Roof complied. That’s when the 40-round magazines turned up.

Roof also had a forearm for an AR-15 in his trunk. It allows a shooter to more easily keep a grip on the rifle, as the barrel grows fiery hot from the shots pouring out of it.

The church massacre

Police say Roof used .45 caliber handgun to carry out the church attack, stopping several times to reload.

An AR-15 fires more rounds per magazine and is more accurate at a longer range.

“This is frightening,” State NAACP President Lonnie Randolph told The State. Roof was clearly thinking of killing more people, he said.

The white supremacist couldn’t come up with the cash to get the big gun, he told an officer. He said he wanted it to take to a firing range, according to a Columbia police report.

On June 17, Roof toted the .45 Glock semi-automatic handgun it into a Bible study class at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, where he sat with his victims through an hour’s lesson before announcing he was there to kill black people.

Roof massacred nine, including Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who will be buried on Friday.

National remembrance

President Obama will deliver Pinckney’s eulogy before mourners, who will include a bipartisan group of Washington lawmakers.

Hillary Clinton, House Speaker John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden will attend the memorial service for Pinckney – who was also a state senator – giving it the feel of a state funeral.

His wanton killing triggered a tidal wave of sympathy for his victims and a national movement to remove from sight the Confederate battle flag, which Roof revered as a symbol of white supremacy.

Many institutions and conservative politicians, who in the past have defended the flag flying have called for it to be pulled down. They include Gov. Nikki Haley Paul Thurmond, the son of dogged segregationist Strom Thurmond, and the Citadel military academy, whose cadets are credited for firing some of the first shots in the Civil War.

Another voice added

On Thursday, a prominent Southern Civil War enthusiast from South Carolina added his voice to the chorus. Glenn McConnell, president of the College of Charleston, has stirred controversy over his participation in battle reenactments and photos of himself standing with African-Americans dressed as slaves.

“I support Governor Haley’s call to remove the Confederate soldier’s flag from State House grounds as a visible statement of courtesy and good will to all those who may be offended by it,” he said in a statement.

Roof had wanted to kick off a race war. That appears to have backfired.

Confederate battle flag: Separating the myths from facts

CNN’s Stephanie Gallman contributed to this report.