Charleston’s hi-profile murder suspects are now neighbors: Roof is in cell 1141B, Slager 1140B in the protective unit pic.twitter.com/5bTrMwd3Tk— Jason Sickles (@jasonsickles) June 19, 2015
SHELBY, N.C. — When church shooting suspect Dylann Roof left here on a police-escorted flight to South Carolina Thursday evening, he did so wearing a striped jail jumpsuit compliments of the Charleston County Sheriff’s Department.
Jailers booked Roof in at 7:28 p.m., less than 24 hours after the reportedly self-avowed racist allegedly massacred nine people during a Bible study session, sparking a regional manhunt.
Roof was assigned Cell 1141B in a part of the jail where suicidal and other high-risk inmates get more oversight.
Out of 937 males currently in the jail, Roof's cellblock neighbor is former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager, who is jailed in a high-profile, racially charged murder case.
Slager, who is white, was indicted this month on charges that he killed an unarmed black man in April.
A bystander captured Slager on video shooting Walter Scott in the back after Scott ran from him during a traffic stop. The shooting led to massive protests and appeals for police reform. State Sen. Clementa Pickney, one of the victims at the church, delivered a moving call to action last month in the aftermath of Scott’s death.
Slager, 33, has been in Cell 1140B since his arrest in early April.
Sheriff’s Department spokesman Major Eric Watson declined to answer questions about the placement of Charleston’s recent high-profile murder suspects.
“The only thing that I will discuss is that he is currently in protective custody at the Sheriff Cannon Detention Center,” Watson told Yahoo News in an email. “I will not get into any other particulars.”
But Roof and Slager are alone in their individual cells without any known way to speak to one another.
The jail also refused to deliver a written request to see whether Roof would grant an interview.
“At this time it will be denied by the department due safety and security concerns,” Watson stated in an email.
Another sheriff’s employee later relayed a message from Ashley Pennington, Charleston County Ninth Circuit public defender.
“I screened Mr. Roof last night,” Pennington wrote. “He has requested a public defender and he qualifies financially as indigent. I now represent him. He does not wish to be interviewed by anyone at this time.”
Jason Sickles is a reporter for Yahoo News. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonsickles).