The murders of nine black church members in Charleston, South Carolina, is to be investigated by the US Justice Department as both a hate crime and act of domestic terrorism.
Dylann Roof, the suspected terrorist, has been charged with nine counts of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime for the massacre at a historic black South Carolina church.
Emily Pierce, a Department of Justice spokeswoman, said the investigation is ongoing.
“This heartbreaking episode was undoubtedly designed to strike fear and terror into this community, and the department is looking at this crime from all angles, including as a hate crime and as an act of domestic terrorism,” the statement read.
The news comes a day after Attorney General Loretta Lynch said: “We will be looking at all the facts and motivations, all the things that led this individual, if he is in fact the shooter(He proudly admitted guilt), to commit this crime and we will determine which are the best ways to prosecute case.”
The suspect was arraigned Friday afternoon and has had his bail set at $1 million.
The victims of the horrific racially motivated terrorist attack on the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME).
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton a mother of three, reverend, and high school track coach.
SC State Senator Clementa Pinckney, pastor of Emanuel AME Church.
Cynthia Hurd, a librarian at the public library for 31 years and was serving as the manager at St. Andrews Regional library since 2011.
Tywanza Sanders was a recent graduate of Allen University in Columbia and had most recently been working at a barber shop.
“He was a quiet, well known student who was committed to his education,” Dr. Flavia Eldemire, vice president of Institutional Advancement at Allen University.
Ethel Lee Lance A sexton at the church who had worked there for more than 30 years
Danial L Simmons, a ministerial staff member at the church
Ethel Lance, 70, a retired Gilliard Center employee who worked recently as a church janitor.
Susie Jackson, 87, Lance’s cousin who was named by a relative and was a longtime church member.
Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49, who retired in 2005 as Charleston County director of the Community Development Block Grant Program.
Myra Thompson was the wife of reverend Anthony Thomspon, who is the Vicar at Holy Trinity REC.
Washington Post reported today:
The gunman charged with killing nine people in an African American church was unrepentant during a confession to police, even after almost backing out of what he called his “mission” because church members were so nice to him, according to law enforcement officials and others briefed on the investigation.
Dylann Roof not only confessed to causing the Wednesday night carnage in Charleston, but said he wanted his actions known, said the law enforcement officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is unfolding. They said Roof espoused strong anti-black views when questioned by officers.
As he methodically fired and reloaded several times, the person said, Roof called out: “You all are taking over our country. Y’all want something to pray about? I’ll give you something to pray about.”