Dylann Roof, the suspected shooter in what authorities have said was a racially motivated June attack on a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, pleaded "not guilty" Friday morning to federal hate crime charges. A federal grand jury in Charleston indicted Roof on 33 counts on July 22, including multiple hate crimes, following the deaths of nine people. Roof, 21, was already facing nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder on the state level.
BREAKING: Dylann Roof, suspected gunman in the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting, plead 'not guilty' to federal hate crime charges
— Live5News (@Live5News) July 31, 2015
Roof's attorney, David Bruck, said his client was ready to plead guilty, but will wait to see if the government pursues the death penalty, local media reported.
Roof stands accused of shooting and killing nine African-American parishioners at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, including state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, a pastor, after joining the group for a Bible study session that evening. Following the massacre, a manifesto was discovered online, purportedly authored by Roof and detailing numerous racist beliefs and ideologies.
— Nigel Robertson (@thetopstoryWYFF) July 22, 2015