Police in Charleston, South Carolina, have revealed that church security cameras caught the white male suspect in his early 20s thought to have conducted the horrific shooting attack on Wednesday that murdered nine people.
The suspect is still at large, and police are warning residents to be vigilant as he is armed and dangerous.
The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime, given that the target was an historic African-American church, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church in the American South.
Images of the suspect reveal a clean-shaven white male in his early 20s, standing 5 feet 9 inches tall with sandy blond hair. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans and Timberland boots.
"He has on a very distinctive sweatshirt as well as the vehicle, with a very distinctive license plate," Charleston police chief Greg Mullen said Thursday. "He obviously is extremely dangerous."
Mullen added, "this is an all-hands-on-deck effort with the community as well as law enforcement. When people go out, they should be vigilant, they should be aware of their surroundings. And if they see anything suspicious, they should call law enforcement."
The suspect was at the church for an hour at a weekly Wednesday Bible study class with his eventual victims, before he suddenly opened fire on them according to Mullen as reported by CNN.
Three people survived the horrific shooting, Mullen said, with some reports indicating a child survived the attack by pretending to be dead.
He added, "this is a situation that is unacceptable in any society, and especially in our society and our city."
Eight church members died at the scene while a ninth died at a hospital. Among the victims are the church's pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney.
The church has been around since 1816, when African-American members of Charleston's Methodist Episcopal Church broke off to form their own community after a burial grounds dispute.