Find Out How a Florist Helped Police Catch the Suspected Charleston Shooter

Todd Frady, Debbie Dills, Charleston Church Shooting

Todd Frady, Debbie Dills, Charleston Church ShootingGabe Whisnant/The Star via AP

It started out as just another day for Debbie Dills, but that quickly changed.

Debbie was running late this morning on her way into work at Frady’s Florist in Kings Mountain, N.C., but she was actually right on time—to help police catch the alleged Charleston church shooter.

Dills and her boss, Todd Frady, made the initial calls around 10:35 a.m. that led to the arrest of suspected shooter Dylann Roof in Shelby, according to local reports.

Dills had been following the news surrounding the tragedy that struck Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., the night before, and recognized the car and Roof’s bowl haircut when she passed him on the highway.

“I saw the pictures of him with the bowl cut. I said, ‘I’ve seen that car for some reason.’ I look over, and it’s got a South Carolina tag on it,” Dills told the Shelby Star. “I thought, ‘Nah, that’s not his car.’ Then, I got closer and saw that haircut. I was nervous. I had the worst feeling. Is that him or not him?”

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Dylann Roof, Charleston ShootingCharleston Police Dept.

So she called her boss for advice.

Frady said he made a call to officer Shane Davis of the Kings Mountain Police Department, who relayed to Shelby Police that the suspect’s black Hyundai Elantra was traveling west on the highway.

“I had been praying for those people on my way to work,” Dills—who also told the Star she followed Roof’s car until police arrived, a journey that covered some 35 miles—explained. “I was in the right place at the right time that the Lord puts you.”

The suspect killed six women and three men at the historically African-American church. Police say he joined a prayer meeting and was present for nearly an hour before he opened fired. Three people survived the massacre. “I do believe this was a hate crime,” said Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen.

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