During the attack at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday night, gunman Dylann Roof tried to kill himself, according to the son of one of the victims.
“He pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger, but it went ‘click,'” because the chamber was empty, Kevin Singleton, the son of 59-year-old Myra Thompson, told the Los Angeles Times.
“His plan was never to leave that church,” Singleton said.
Singleton said he and his family were told the story by Polly Sheppard, 69, one of three survivors of the massacre that left nine people dead. However, Sheppard refused to comment on any of Singleton’s claims.
Singleton, 40, a magazine publisher in Charlotte, North Carolina, said it appeared that Roof’s original intent was to kill the church’s well-known minister, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney.
But when the retired Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74, grappled with him, he unloaded on Simmons and the others, Singleton said.
Roof told Sheppard that he was sparing her so that she could tell the story of his carnage, then turned the gun on himself, to no avail because he ran out of bullets. He left only to be arrested one day later in North Carolina.
The 21-year-old Roof is now on suicide watch at a Charleston County detention facility, reports the Washington Post. He is in solitary confinement and is being monitored by two detention officers.