Members of the small town of Lone Star, South Carolina, are horrified to discover that convicted Emanuel A.M.E Church shooter Dylann Roof was planning to murder Black picnickers at a historic harvest festival.
Lone Star residents Albert Flower and his mother, Bessie Rush, told local news outlet WIS-10 News they were alarmed to find out that the historic Good Hope picnic was one of Roof’s targets.
“It was alarming to me,” says Fowler, the co-executive vice president of the picnic. “I guess a better word would be ‘shocked’ because to know that the individual that committed that type of senseless crimes would actually have this area or any area on his list, that’s very alarming.”
“He did his homework. He was looking for places where Blacks hang out, and I think that was awful, but that was his goal,” Rush said.
The Good Hope picnic was started by Black sharecroppers who gathered to celebrate a bountiful harvest. And it has been held for every second Friday in August without interruption for 101 years, according to WIS.
After killing nine churchgoers in June of 2015, Roof planned to murder hundreds of attendees at the annual picnic. Atlanta Black Star reported that investigators found a list of future targets in the 22-year-old killer’s car.
But it turns out Roof had three hit lists, according to WIS, and on the third one the convicted murderer wrote “Good Hope Picnic Elloree” with the intention of continuing his white supremacist inspired killing spree. Roof told FBI investigators in his taped confession that he planned to attack a “Black festival” but didn’t elaborate.
“We usually have about 800 to 1,000 community members out here,” Fowler says.
And many of the attendees come from out of state, his mother added. “We’ve got people that come from California, Philadelphia, all over,” Rush says.
On Dec. 15, Roof was found guilty on all 33 charges of murder, attempted murder and federal hate crimes for the 2015 massacre.
“And I know they might go for life in prison, but I hope he gets the death penalty for the things he did to the people I knew. I knew Reverend Pinckney personally,” Rush tells reporters. “He had been to our church several times.”
A hearing is scheduled for Roof Wednesday, Dec. 28 and sentencing will take place Tuesday, Jan. 3.