Federal prosecutors will also seek the death penalty against alleged Charleston shooter Dylann Roof, the Attorney General’s office announced today.
“Following the department’s rigorous review process to thoroughly consider all relevant factual and legal issues, I have determined that the Justice Department will seek the death penalty,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said today in a statement. “The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision.”
Roof is also facing state death penalty charges in a trial that was scheduled to begin this summer but has now been delayed until at least January to allow time for Roof to undergo psychological testing.
The now-22-year-old was arrested last June after he allegedly shot nine people to death during a bible study at the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof indicated his attack was racially motivated and investigators say he wrote a manifesto explaining his strategy: “I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”