Charleston shooting suspect charged with nine murders

Dylann Roof due to face a bond hearing later on Friday over attack during bible study

The 21-year-old man who is suspected of killing nine people in a historic black church in the US was charged Friday with nine counts of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, the police said.

The offences could lead to him receiving the death penalty.

The Charleston Police Department announced the charges just hours before the suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, a white man who returned to Charleston under heavy guard Thursday night after his arrest in North Carolina, was expected to go before a judge Friday for a bond hearing, where he will hear the charges against him.

South Carolina‘s governor, Nikki R. Haley, on Friday called for Roof to face the death penalty.


“This is a state that is hurt by the fact that nine people innocently were killed,“ Ms Haley said, adding that the state “absolutely will want him to have the death penalty.“

The governor, who spoke on NBC‘s Today show, described Wednesday‘s shooting rampage as “an absolute hate crime.”

Greg Mullen, the chief of police in Charleston, has called the shooting a hate crime, and Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said the Justice Department was investigating that possibility.

At Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Calhoun Street, where the shooting took place, scores of bouquets rested on the sidewalk, along with wreaths and a simple wooden cross. Gold, silver and white balloons were tied to the church's ironwork; nearby, nine white ribbons, each bearing the name of a victim, were tied to a fence.

On Thursday, president Barack Obama spoke of the shooting and lamented what he called the easy access to guns, an issue he has tried and failed to address with legislation.

“At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” Mr Obama said.

New York Times