Alleged Charleston church shooter faces federal hate crime charges, is indicted on 33 federal counts

Posted at 2:58 PM, Jul 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-22 15:34:26-04

The suspect in a shooting massacre at a church in Charleston, South Carolina that claimed nine lives has been indicted on 33 federal counts.

Dylann Roof was arrested following the shootings June 17 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Roof is 21 years old and is from Shelby, North Carolina.

The suspect confessed to the killings, which happened inside the church at the end of a Bible study meeting Roof participated in.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Wednesday the U.S. Justice Department will file federal hate crime charges against Roof. South Carolina does not have a hate crimes law, which spurred the need for federal charges, Lynch said in her media conference.

No decision on whether Roof faces the death penalty has been made, she said.

In early July, FBI Director James Comey said the government's background check system failed to stop Roof from purchasing a gun. The FBI made a clerical error in part because of a law enforcement breakdown in paperwork, Comey said.

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