Debbie Dills told the Shelby Star: “I was in church [Wednesday] night myself. I had seen the news coverage before I went to bed and started praying for those families down there.” She added: “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 [Thursday] morning, my heart just sank.” She thought that it could have just as easily been her.
Dills was running late for work Thursday morning at Frady’s Florist near Shelby, North Carolina, when she noticed a car up ahead of her. She wasn’t even sure why she took note of the black Hyundai, which was being driven by a young man.
“I saw the pictures of him with the bowl cut. I said, ‘I’ve seen that car for some reason.’ I look over, and it’s got a South Carolina tag on it,” Dills said Thursday afternoon. “I thought, ‘Nah, that’s not [Roof’s] car.’ Then, I got closer and saw that haircut. I was nervous. I had the worst feeling. Is that him or not him?”
She took her normal exit to go to work, but it was not sitting well with her. She called her boss and friend Todd Frady to ask for his advice.
“She just had a gut feeling that something just wasn’t right,” Frady said.
He told her that she should go try to catch up with him again and get the license plate number, while he called his police officer friend on another phone.
Dills caught back up with Roof and stayed with him until Shelby police cruisers pulled in behind the suspect a few minutes later. From the time Dills first spotted the accused shooter’s car until he was apprehended by police was about 20 minutes. She had trailed the suspect for over 25 miles.
“Them boys knocked it down. They were on it,” Dills said. “Just after the arrest, three of [the police from nearby] Kings Mountain were standing right over there. Thanking me and shaking my hand.”
During an interview on Fox and Friends Friday morning, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck called the florist a hero for her actions. Dills admitted she got a little nervous after spotting who she thought could be Roof. She said that “God is the hero.” Dills believes He directly intervened to cause events to play out as they did in the suspect’s arrest 430 miles from where the shooting took place.
“I’m not brave, but I started talking to the Lord about it,” Dills explained. “If we are willing vessels, He can use us.”
“That is the kind of God I serve. He puts us where we need to be, when we need to be,” she said. (“How One Woman Risked Her Life to Ensure the Charleston Shooting Suspect’s Capture”, originally posted HERE)