Charleston gunman indicted on nine murder charges

FILE - In this June 19, 2015 file photo, Dylann Storm Roof appears via video before a judge, in Charleston, S.C., Friday, June 19, 2015. Roof is accused of killing nine people inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. (Centralized Bond Hearing Court via AP)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (MEDIA GENERAL) – Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old gunman who killed nine black parishioners June 17, 2015 was formally indicted Tuesday on nine counts of murder, according to The Post and Courier in Charleston.

Roof also was indicted on three counts of attempted murder for the victims who survived the massacre.

Roof allegedly sat through a Bible study class on June 17 before opening fire on those in attendance at Emanuel AME Church. He killed nine people, including Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who also was a South Carolina state Senator.

Roof was apprehended the next day in Shelby, North Carolina, and extradited back to Charleston.

The shooting immediately was labeled a hate crime. Survivors said Roof indicated he was “there to shoot black people.” Roof allegedly said, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

Investigations quickly found a web site that is believed to belong to Roof that included several photos of Roof posing with the Confederate flag and his firearm, as well as a white supremacist manifesto.

The shooting has sparked a national discussion on race relations in America and moved several retailers to ban selling Confederate flag-related merchandise. Several southern states also have looked into removing Confederate icons from state grounds.

Earlier Tuesday, the South Carolina state Senate, missing one of their own in Pinckney, voted 36-3 to approve a bill calling to remove the Confederate flag from state grounds. That bill is expected to go before the state House later today.

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