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South Carolina Grand Jury Indicts Charleston Shooter Dylann Roof for Attempted Murder

The Charleston County prosecutor presented the three attempted murder charges to correspond with the number of injured survivors from the June 17 shooting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

by VICE News
Jul 7 2015, 5:35pm

Photo by Chuck Burton

A South Carolina grand jury indicted Charleston church shooting suspect Dylann Roof on three new charges for attempted murder in connection with the attack that left nine bible study meeting attendees dead, according to Prosecutor Scarlett Wilson. 

The Charleston County prosecutor presented the three attempted murder charges to correspond with the number of injured survivors from the June 17 shooting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Last month, a judge charged the 21-year-old alleged shooter with nine counts of murder for each of the victims, as well as a weapons charge. While a bond could not be set for the nine counts of murder, a judge did set a $1 million bond for a weapons charge. Roof has also been indicted on these charges.

Roof opened fire on a Wednesday bible study meeting at the AME church, killing Reverend Clementa Pinckney. In addition to Pinckney, the victims, all of whom were black, have been identified by Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten as Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton 45; and Myra Thompson, 59.

Roof fled the scene of the shooting and authorities arrested him the following day in Shelby, North Carolina, where he was transported back to Charleston.

A racist manifesto believed to have been written by Roof surfaced in the days after the attack posted on a website with the URL "lastrhodesian.com" — an apparent reference to Rhodesia, the Apartheid-era white supremacist regime in what is now Zimbabwe. Photos of the suspect posted on the website and social media outlets show him posing with confederate flags.

It's unclear whether the US Department of Justice (DOJ) will pursue hate crime charges against Roof at the federal level. The DOJ opened a hate crime investigation after the attack and the FBI is reportedly investigating Roof's website.

Correction: The name of the Reverend killed in Charleston was Clementa Pinckney. An earlier version of this piece referred to him as Charles Pinckney.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related: 'It's the Right Thing to Do': South Carolina Senate Votes to Remove Confederate Flag From Capitol

Watch the VICE News documentary, "Correspondent Confidential: Investigating KKK Murders in the Deep South."