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Charleston Shooter Charged With Federal Hate Crimes

Dylann Roof, 21, indicted on 33 counts, including some that carry death penalty

Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced at a Department of Justice press conference on Wednesday that Dylann Roof will face federal hate crime charges. (Photo: Screenshot)

Dylann Roof, the suspect in the killings of nine black men and women at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina last month, was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday on 33 federal counts, including hate crime charges and a charge of killing someone while obstructing religious freedom.

Some of those counts carry the death penalty, although U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who announced the charges, did not say whether the federal government would pursue capital punishment.

Roof also faces nine counts of murder in state court and could be sentenced to the death penalty there. But South Carolina does not have hate crime laws, and the brutal and racist nature of the murders prompted an investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Authorities from those agencies have previously called the attack "racially motivated."

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