Dylann Storm Roof, the culprit behind the shocking Charleston Church massacre on June 17, is now formally charged with 33 counts of federal hate crimes and firearm-related charges.
Roof’s indictment by a federal grand jury was anchored on the premise that the felon targeted his victims due to the latter’s religion and race. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was reported by CNN, saying the Charleston Church killing is the kind of felony the “federal hate crimes statutes were conceived of to cover.”
“Racially motivated violence such as this is the original domestic terrorism,” Lynch said, “Mother Emanuel was his destination specifically because it was an historically African-American church of significance to the people of Charleston, of South Carolina and to the nation.”
Lynch continued: “On that summer evening, Dylann Roof found his targets, African-Americans engaged in worship.”
To recall, Roof was among who attended a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. An hour after the service began on June 17, Roof stood up and started on his shooting spree, killing nine black churchgoers including a senior pastor. He was arrested the following day after the authorities were tipped off.
Charleston church massacre’s controversy spread out to affect the Confederate Flag, which was associated with racism. Roof was reported to have driven a car with an emblem of the rebel flag. With South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s initiative, the Confederate Flag was permanently taken down from the state capitol grounds.
According to Lynch as reported by media, the Charleston church shooting had been planned by Roof for months and propelled by his racist views.
“He was looking for the type of church and the type of parishioners whose death would, in fact, draw great notoriety for,” Lynch said. Roof is scheduled to be heard on a state trial beginning July 11, 2016 and should he be found guilty by the grand jury, Roof will face either the death penalty or life imprisonment. No specific date has been set yet for Roof’s federal trial, although Lynch assured the two cases “will proceed through the court system.”