Reverend Herman R. Yoos, Dylann Roof’s pastor, spoke out Sunday after spending time with the Charleston shooter’s family at a church service just days after the fateful attack at a bible study that killed nine people.
Yoos, a pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, said he visited the Roof family at their home Saturday and was encouraged that they decided to go to services as they are grieving “over something they do not understand and cannot comprehend either,” NBC News reported.
“They are grieving in a different way,” Yoos said. “But they are grieving for those nine families, and they expressed great grief and sorrow for them.”
Police have affirmed Roof opened fire at the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopalian Church in Charleston, S.C., out of personal hatred and racism.
And while Yoos recognizes that we live in a “polarized society” and “we need confront the reality of racism,” he also made a point to say he was inspired by the actions of the nine victims’ families.
“There’s many good reasons for people to see something like this and want vengeance or justice. That’s our human nature,” Yoos said. “But when I see the extraordinary act of all 9 families of the victims forgiveness for Dylann, praying for him, they become a model for which we’re supposed to follow.”