The pastor who baptized Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof as a baby, marking him "with the cross of Christ forever," has said that even in the face of the horror of what he did, God never forsakes anyone.
"I don't think God ever forsakes us and God's spirit is in there somewhere, so I would not give up hope on him," Pastor Richard Graf, who baptized Roof as a 2-year-old in April 1997, said in an interview with local news station WECT.
Roof, a white supremacist who murdered nine black worshipers in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 2015, was sentenced to death in January for his crime.
He was convicted of 33 charges against him, with the hate crime shocking Christians throughout America.
Graf admitted that he struggles to come to terms with what the boy he once baptized became.
"What he did was terrible, there's no excuse for it, it was a crime against the people of God and God Himself," the pastor said. "Those people had the God-given gift of life and he took that, he took that away from them. Now, my government that I am a part of is doing the same to him and compounding one wrong with another distresses me tremendously."