The suspect in the Charleston Church massacre has been charged with nine counts of murder.
Dylann Roof was also charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime for the shootings in one of the South’s most historic black churches.
South Carolina’s Governor has called for the twenty-one year old to face the death penalty.
Appearing via video link to hear the charges against him, Roof stared at the ground. His bond for possession of a fire arm was set at $1m. Families of the victims told Roof that they forgive him.
Mourning and reflection
As the community unites over the tragedy, the attack has forced the country to reflect on its strained race relations and gun culture.
“Apparently he shot these people because they were black,” remarked South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. “The world is crazy right now. That’s what this guy was. A crazy guy. Not in terms of being mentally incompetent – just being mean and hateful and crazy. I can’t explain it,” he added.
Initially US officials began to investigate the attack which killed nine black worshippers as a hate crime. The Department of Justice has now said it will also be looking at the crime as ‘an act of domestic terrorism’.
In the wake of the attack New York is taking extra precautions.
“I want everyone to know there’s no place in New York City for this kind of hatred,” explained New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We, through the NYPD, have increased our resources directed at protecting African-American churches in this city as a precaution.”
A feeling of horror and loss could be felt on Capitol Hill in Washington as members of Congress offered prayers for the victims.