Charleston, May 25 (RHC)-- The U.S. Justice Department is seeking the death penalty for a white man accused of fatally shooting nine African American churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina last year. Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday they would seek capital punishment for Dylann Roof due to the “nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm.”
“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 in a statement.
In what seemed to be a racially motivated assault, Dylann Roof, 22 years old, opened fire on participants of an evening Bible study class at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on June 17, 2015 with a 45-caliber Glock handgun. Three people survived the massacre.
Roof now faces 33 federal charges, ranging from hate crimes to obstruction of religion and firearm offenses. He is also facing a charge under a second hate crime law which forbids the use of force to prohibit the free exercise of religious belief.