The Justice Department is planning to seek the death penalty for the racist gunman who claimed the lives of nine African-American church members in Charleston, South Carolina last summer.
22-year-old Dylann Roof will stand trial on 33 counts of multiple charges including murder, attempted murder and possession of a firearm. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced on Monday that the Justice Department will seek the death penalty in light of the extremely hateful and intentionally harmful nature of the crimes committed.
“On that summer evening, Dylann Roof found his targets, African Americans engaged in worship,” Lynch said in an official statement. “The parishioners had Bibles. Dylann Roof had his 45-caliber Glock pistol and eight magazines loaded with hollow point bullets … Dylann Roof drew his pistol and opened fire on them.”
In the days following the attack, it was discovered that Roof also specifically targeted the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church because of its historical significance in the Black community.
According to official court documents, he also outwardly expressed “animosity” towards African-Americans which was ultimately the driving force behind the shooting.
Dylann Roof’s attorney David Bruck declined to comment following the news, however, it was noted that Bruck entered a not guilty plea on Roof’s behalf despite his wish to plead guilty.
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