Christian Woman Credited With Capture of Charleston Church Shooter Dylann Wolf Gives God the Glory: 'He's the Real Hero'

( [email protected] ) Jun 19, 2015 12:17 PM EDT
A Christian woman credited for the capture of Dylann Roof, the shooter in the Charleston church massacre, has given God the glory, saying He simply put her in the right place at the right time
Debbie Dills pictured with her boss, Todd Frady, during an appearance on the Today Show. The Today Show

A Christian woman credited with the capture of Dylann Roof, the shooter in the Charleston church massacre, has given God the glory, saying He simply put her in the right place at the right time.

Debbie Dills, who is the minister of music at West Cramerton Baptist Church, was driving to work at Frady's Florist in Kings Mountain, N.C., when she spotted a black Hyundai Elantra that looked familiar, The Shelby Star reported Thursday.

"I saw the news coverage last night and the picture of the car," Ms. Dills told the newspaper. "I knew it was a black car, and it had a tag on the front. I saw the pictures of him with the bowl cut."

"I said, 'I've seen that car for some reason,' " she said. "I look over, and it's got a South Carolina tag on it. I thought, 'Nah, that's not his car.' Then, I got closer and saw that haircut."

Roof, 21, has been charged with killing nine people, including pastor and S.C. State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, during a prayer meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on Wednesday night. After shooting his victims, Roof fled the scene, leading police on a massive, a 14-hour chase.

Dills revealed that she had been praying for the victims in Charleston since the tragic news broke Wednesday night.

"I was in church last night myself. I had seen the news coverage before I went to bed and started praying for those families down there," she said. "Those people were in their church just trying to learn the word of God and trying to serve. When I saw a picture of that pastor this morning, my heart just sank."

Dills followed the car for several miles before turning off the highway for work. Then, acting on a hunch, she decided to double back to see if she could provide more details.

"If it that was him and something would happen again, what would I do?" she told The Star. "It kept eating at me and something told me to keep following him."

"I was nervous, I was scared, I'm not normally that kind of person," she said of her decision to follow Roof during a later interview with NBC News."I just had a feeling--I'm sure it was divine intervention...God had his hand in it, He had me where I needed to be."

Ms. Dills said she called her boss, Todd Frady, for advice, leading to a call to police at 10:35 a.m.

"She called me when she was at the exit for Kings Mountain on Highway 74," Frady said. "I called Shane Davis, then he called Shelby PD."

Making a split-second decision, Dills caught up to Roof's Hyundai again and continued to follow him, while staying on the phone with Frady. Dills saw Shelby Police officers begin to follow Roof and at first stayed behind, knowing the situation was under control.

Determined to see the arrest through, however, Dills decided to catch back up with police. By the time she arrived at the scene, Roof had been pulled over and apprehended. She had followed the wanted man for approximately 25 miles. Roof was subsequently taken into custody by police on Thursday afternoon.

"I had been praying for those people on my way to work," Dills said. "I was in the right place at the right time that the Lord puts you."

"It wasn't me--it was God," she later told NBC News of the praise she has received for her role in the killer's arrest. "He used me as a vessel, if anyone is a hero, it is Him. It is through Him that everything happened. It happened for a reason...the people who were praying --they need to know, that God heard their prayer...I'm a willing vessel, whatever He wants."

Dills also credited the police force for their work: "Them boys knocked it down. They were on it," she told the news source. "Just after the arrest, three of them from Kings Mountain were standing right over there. Thanking me and shaking my hand."