(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Federal hate crime charges were filed Wednesday against Dylann Roof in the racially charged Charleston church massacre that shook the country, according to court documents.
The 21-year-old Roof is accused of killing nine black worshipers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on June 17.
Roof allegedly made racially charged comments during the shooting, which left eight worshipers and the historic church’s pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, dead.
Roof, who is white, also allegedly posted racist diatribes on the internet and pictures of himself holding a Confederate flag on his Facebook page. The charges leveled Wednesday confirm that the government has evidence that the murders were racially motivated.
The grand jury indictment comes after an investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Roof was indicted earlier this month in Charleston on nine counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder, and a firearms charge in connection with the attack.
The Charleston church murders sparked a national debate about the Confederate flag, and within a month of the shooting, the South Carolina legislature approved a measure to take down the Rebel flag that had flown on the state capitol grounds for more than 50 years.
The controversy over the display of Confederate monuments, school names and symbols has continued in Congress, and around the country since the shooting.
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