U.S. Attorney General: Grand jury charges Dylann Roof with “hate crimes”

U.S. Attorney General Lynch announced yesterday:

We are here today to announce that a federal grand jury in South Carolina has returned a 33-count indictment against Dylann Storm Roof, charging him with federal hate crimes and firearms charges for killing and attempting to kill African-American parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, because of their race and in order to interfere with their exercise of their religion.

….Roof is also charged with nine murders and three attempted murders under a second federal hate crimes statute that prohibits the use or threat of force to obstruct any person’s free exercise of their religious beliefs.

Finally, Roof has been charged with multiple counts of using a firearm in the commission of these racially motivated murders and attempted murders.

For these crimes, Roof faces penalties of up to life imprisonment or the death penalty.  No decision has been made on whether to seek the death penalty in this case.  The department will follow our usual rigorous protocol to thoroughly consider all factual and legal issues relevant to that decision, which will necessarily involve counsel for the defendant Roof.  In addition, consultation with the victims’ families is an important part of this decision making process and no decision will be made before conferring with them.

Read the full statement HERE.