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Dylann Roof indicted on federal hate crime charges

By Danielle Haynes
Dylann Roof indicted on federal hate crime charges
Dylann Roof, 21, a suspect in a shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina is shown in a booking photo from the Lexington County South Carolina Sheriff's Office April 26, 2015 after a previous arrest. Lexington County Sheriff's Department/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- Dylann Roof, the man accused of a racially motivated shooting at a church in South Carolina resulting in the deaths of nine people, was indicted on 33 federal violations, including hate crime charges, federal officials said Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the federal indictment, saying the violations come under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act. South Carolina doesn't have a hate crimes statute.

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Roof, 21, is accused of entering the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston on June 17 and opening fire, killing nine people and injuring one other. Investigators found online evidence that Roof allegedly wished to spark a race war in the country.

"Roof conceived his goal of increasing racial tensions and seeking retribution for perceived wrongs that he believed African-Americans have committed against white people," Lynch said. "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."

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Roof's federal indictment includes nine counts of hate crime resulting in death, three counts of hate crime involving an attempt to kill, nine counts of obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death, three counts obstruction of exercise of religion involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon, and nine counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.

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Some of the federal charges carry the death penalty, which he already faces for state charges, including nine counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and a firearms charge.

The Department of Justice could delay its case until after the outcome of the state trial.

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