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Woman recounts spotting, reporting accused Charleston shooter Dylann Roof

Published: Jun. 18, 2015 at 11:23 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2015 at 11:34 PM EDT
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KINGS MOUNTAIN, NC (WBTV) - For some reason, Debbie Dills couldn't stop thinking about the tragic killing of nine church members in Charleston, SC. She said she first heard the news of the shootings after she got home from her own church on Wednesday night.

What she saw stuck with her.

"I went to bed with it on my mind last night," Dills recounted on Thursday afternoon. "For some reason I just, I mean, I had those people on my mind. I couldn't imagine their families and how they were feeling."

Dills said she paid closer attention to coverage of the shooting than she normally would because she was so affected by the story. That's why she got a funny feeling when she drove by a black Hyundai with South Carolina plates on Highway 74 on her way to work Thursday morning.

The car turned out to belong to Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old accused of gunning down nine people at a prayer meeting in Charleston, SC late Wednesday night.

"I looked over and I thought why does that car look familiar to me and why am I thinking about that car?" she said. "Because normally I don't do that. I'm not an observant person."

Dills called it divine intervention.

"I [saw] the back of his head and then I seen that bowl cut, that hair," she recalled. "He was just a young man driving that car. He wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary, he wasn't speeding or anything."

The last thing she noticed as she passed car was the front license plate tag with the confederate flag on it.

"I got sick, you know? I got nervous. I got anxious."

Dills said she didn't know what to do so she called her boss. Instead of telling him why she was running late for work, she told him she thought she saw Roof. Together, they decided her boss at Frady's Florist & Gifts in Kings Mountain would call the police.

Shelby Police confirm their officers stopped Roof after getting tipped off from Kings Mountain Police that a car matching Roof's car may be in the area.

Dills said she's glad she followed the car that gave her a strange feeling; a feeling that led to an accused mass murderer being locked behind bars just hours after the FBI released his identity.

"The only thing I could see were those people in Charleston in their prayer circle with their hands gathered around praying," Dill said. "That that prayer would be answered."

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