Two in GOP label S. C. attack terrorism
WASHINGTON — Two prominent Republicans on Sunday called the Charleston, S. C., shooting in which a 21- year- old white man is accused of killing nine African Americans during a prayer meeting an act of domestic terrorism.
Rep. Devin Nunes of California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the shooting “could be domestic terrorism when you look at it — clearly it was a hate crime.”
Nunes, of Tulare, went on to say that he didn’t know whether federal prosecutors would decide that the case warrants terrorism charges. But “from a layman’s point of view,” Nunes said, “I think you easily call it domestic terrorism.”
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a former U. S. senator from Pennsylvania, said on ABC’s “This Week,” “I don’t think there’s any question when someone comes into a church for the reasons of racism and hate that they’re trying to terrorize people.... I don’t think there’s any question this is an act of terrorism.”
Civil rights activists have called for the killings to be investigated as an act of terrorism in part because an online manifesto linked to the defendant, Dylann Roof, calls for violent attacks against African Americans in the South.
Roof faces nine murder charges in the rampage at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the oldest black churches in the South.
He spent nearly an hour with the Bible study group before taking out a handgun and killing the six women and three men, including the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, according to authorities.
When asked whether federal prosecutors should bring terrorism charges against Roof, Santorum was noncommittal.
“Well, federal charges, state charges, there’s certainly plenty of charges here. Whether they’re federal or state charges really doesn’t matter,” he said. “This young man is going to get justice served on him.”