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AG Lynch: Dylann Roof Indicted on 33 Counts, Hate Crime Charges

Dylann Roof, who said he shot nine people at a black church in Charleston was indicted on 33 counts, including hate crime charges.
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A grand jury has indicted Dylann Roof, the confessed gunman who killed nine people during a Bible study at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina on 33 federal counts including hate crime charges, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced on Wednesday.

Roof, 21, went on what federal authorities are calling a "racially motivated" shooting spree during the June 17 rampage at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Roof faces state charges including nine counts of murder, is being held without bond and has a tentative trial date of July 11, 2016.

He could face the death penalty in South Carolina, Lynch said adding that "no decision has been made whether to seek that penalty." The state of South Carolina does not have a hate crimes statute.

Lynch called Roof's act of "racially motivated violence" the archetype of "the original type of domestic terrorism."

"We think that this is exactly the type of case that the federal hate crimes statues were, in fact, conceived of to cover," Lynch said.

Mother Emanuel Chuch, Lynch noted, was Roof's destination because of its significance as a historically African-American church.

Related: FBI Says Dylann Roof Should Not Have Been Sold Gun

"On that summer evening, Dylann Roof found his targets, African Americans engaged in worship," Lynch said. "Met with welcome by the ministers of the church and its parishioners, he joined them in their Bible study group. The parishioners had Bibles. Dylann Roof had his .45 caliber Glock pistol and eight magazines loaded with hollow point bullets."

The victims' family members were informed earlier of the indictment.

The FBI recently announced that a background check failure allowed Roof to illegally purchase a .45-caliber Glock handgun on April 11, eight days after he turned 21, at Shooter's Choice in West Columbia, South Carolina. Roof had previously acknowledged drug possession, according to the FBI.

Law enforcement officials had previously said the transaction was entirely legal, despite his pending drug charge. The weapon was purchased at the gun store, which is 25 miles from his home.

FBI director James B. Comey called that assessment "a mistake in a matter of heartbreaking importance."

"We are all sick this happened," Comey said at the time of the announcement. "We wish we could turn back time."