Accused Charleston shooter Dylann Roof was officially indicted Tuesday on charges of murder and attempted murder, The Washington Post is reporting.
Charleston County prosecutor Scarlett A. Wilson officially presented the charges against Roof to a grand jury. Those charges included nine charges of murder – one for each of the victims of the Charleston church shooting – and three charges of attempted murder – one for each of the people present who survived.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, on June 17, a gunman – allegedly Roof – opened fire on a Bible study at Charleston’s historically Black Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, killing nine people, including the church’s pastor, politician Clementa Pinckney, and injuring another. Two other people present were not harmed.
Roof, who was known to have racist and white supremacist beliefs, according to Gawker, allegedly wanted to start a race war. In a manifesto dug up by a Gawker reporter, Roof complained extensively about crimes committed by blacks against whites.
“The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case.”
Roof had also posed for photographs holding a Confederate flag – seen by some as a symbol of racism and slavery. Roof’s association with the flag and its supposed ties to racism started a national conversation about the flag and led to several retailers discontinuing sales of the Confederate flag. Several state legislatures in Southern states initiated talks about removing the flag from their buildings, and TV Land stopped airing the 70’s TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, where the flag features prominently on the title characters’ car.
Initially, Roof was charged with nine counts of murder and one count of possessing a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, according to CNN. However, revised charges were handed down Tuesday morning. Wilson explains her decision to file additional charges against Roof.
“We presented three additional attempted murder charges to the grand jury and the defendant was subsequently indicted for those charges. These attempted murder charges are related to the victims who survived their attack at Mother Emanuel.”
Wilson has not spoken publicly about what punishment she believes Roof should receive if convicted, insisting that she wants to discuss the issue with victims’ families before making a decision on whether or not to seek the death penalty against Roof.
Roof may yet find himself facing criminal charges from the federal government. The FBI is considering federal hate crime charges against Roof, and The Washington Post describes the additional charges as “likely.”
[Image courtesy of Getty Images/Pool]