Dylann Roof, the man accused of killing nine parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., has been charged with 12 hate crime counts, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced on Wednesday (July 22) afternoon.
The grand jury indicted the 21-year-old with a total of 33 federal charges. Last month, he was charged with nine counts of murder. Prosecutors have not announced if they will seek the death penalty, according to AP.
“Hate crimes, as I have stated before, are the originator of domestic terrorism,” Lynch said. “Several months prior to the tragic events, Roof conceived his goal of increasing racial tensions and seeking retribution for perceived wrongs that he believed African-Americans have committed against white people.”
Nine people, including the church's pastor, who was a state senator, were killed on June 17 in the incident. Emanuel A.M.E. is one of the oldest Black churches in the South, and the building is considered a historic site by the National Park Service.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)