Hate crimes added to church shoot­ing charges

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

Washington — The man ac­cused of killing nine black church mem­bers in Charleston, South Carolina, was mo­ti­vated by racial ha­tred and a de­sire for “no­to­ri­ety” when he opened fire in­side a his­toric house of wor­ship, ac­cord­ing to a fed­eral grand jury in­dict­ment is­sued Wed­nes­day that makes him el­i­gi­ble for the death penalty. The 33-count fed­eral in­dict­ment charges Dy­lann Roof, 21, with hate crimes, firearms vi­o­la­tions and ob­struct­ing the prac­tice of re­li­gion in the June 17 shoot­ings at Emanuel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church. The fed­eral counts, an­nounced Wed­nes­day by At­tor­ney Gen­eral Loretta Lynch, are in ad­di­tion to state mur­der charges brought against Roof . The Jus­tice Depart­ment has not de­cided whether it will seek the death penalty against Roof Roof, who is white, ap­peared in photos wav­ing Con­fed­er­ate flags and burn­ing or des­e­crat­ing U.S. flags, and pur­port­edly wrote of fo­ment­ing racial vi­o­lence. Roof, Lynch said, had for sev­eral months prior to the shoot­ings con­ceived a goal of “in­creas­ing racial ten­sions through­out the na­tion and seek­ing ret­ri­bu­tion for per­ceived wrongs he be­lieved African-Amer­i­cans had com­mit­ted against white peo­ple.” To carry out those goals, he “de­cided to seek out and mur­der African-Amer­i­cans be­cause of their race,” Lynch said, adding he had pur­pose­fully se­lected the his­toric church to “en­sure the great­est no­to­ri­ety and at­ten­tion to his ac­tions.” He took ad­van­tage of his vic­tims' gen­eros­ity when they wel­comed Roof into their Bi­ble-study group, she said. “The parish­ioners had Bi­bles. Dy­lann Roof had his .45-cal­i­bre Glock pis­tol, and eight mag­a­zines loaded with hol­low-point bul­lets.”

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