Accused Charleston, South Carolina church shooter Dylann Roof has been indicted on several federal charges, including hate crimes.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a press conference that Roof went to the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church because of its history as a prominent black church. Roof is accused of opening fire during a prayer meeting, killing eight churchgoers and the church’s pastor, Clementa Pinckney, who was also a state senator.
Included in the 33 federal charges are nine counts of a hate crime act resulting in death and nine counts of obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death.
According to the indictment, Roof “decided to attack African-Americans because of their race. He further decided to attack African-American worshipers in an African-American church in order to make his attack more notorious.
Read the indictment below:
Roof, 21, has also been charged with nine counts of murder, firearm offenses and other charges in South Carolina. But the state doesn’t have a hate crime statute, which is one of the reasons the Justice Department stepped in. Both the South Carolina and federal charges carry the potential for the death penalty. Lynch said federal prosecutors haven’t decided if they will pursue the death penalty in their case, but many officials in South Carolina have indicated the state will.
Lynch said it hasn’t been determined whether the federal or state trial will come first.
Roof wrote a manifesto that spelled out his reasons for the shooting.
Prosecutors said in the indictment that Roof did obtain and used the website, lastrhodesian.com, to post the manifesto and photographs “expressing his racist beliefs.”