Charleston church shooting suspect indicted on federal hate crime charges

A federal grand jury has charged Dylann Storm Roof with federal hate crime charges in last month's shooting massacre at a historically black church in South Carolina, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday.

The grand jury returned a 33-count indictment against Dylann Storm Roof, charging him with federal hate crimes and firearms charges for killing and attempting to kill African-American parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston because of their race and in order to interfere with their exercise of their religion.

"As set forth in the indictment, several months prior to the tragic events of June 17, Roof conceived of his goal of increasing racial tensions throughout the nation and seeking retribution for perceived wrongs he believed African Americans had committed against white people," U.S. Attorney General Lynch said at a press conference.

Lynch added: "To carry out these twin goals of fanning racial flames and exacting revenge, Roof further decided to seek out and murder African Americans because of their race. An essential element of his plan, however, was to find his victims inside of a church, specifically an African-American church, to ensure the greatest notoriety and attention to his actions."

Nine people were killed in the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

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