LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - When the news broke out that Dylann Roof allegedly murdered nine people in Charleston, the nation was shocked. It seemed like everyone was asking how a person could commit such an act.
"I think when we have such a violent act as this, we all ask that question why, and that's one of the most difficult questions to answer," said Dr. Debra Burton, a Lufkin licensed professional counselor.
When it comes the motive to mass violence, every case is different. Was it a mental illness, or was it just an act of evil?
According to Burton, in Roof's case, it's complicated.
"The relationship is so complex in how much of this is some type of genetic mental capacity for this evil," Burton said. "The other part of it is just we believe people like this have anti-social personality tendencies; there is no remorse."
While at the time, it was unknown what Roof's mental state was, Burton said he knew what he was doing, and he believed it was the right thing to do.
"There's some indication that he was obsessed, that he was kind of grandiose in his thinking that he would do something significant," Burton said.
According to reports from his alleged manifesto, Roof researched white supremacy websites and literature to solidify his radical viewpoints towards the African-American race. While that evidence is overwhelming, Burton said it's still not enough to truly understand Roof's thought process or his motive.
"At this point, it's still out," Burton said. "We don't really know enough yet about what was going on with this young man, but what we do know is the tragedy and the terror that he inflicted."