The Justice Department will seek the death penalty against Dylann Roof, ABC News reports.
Roof, 22, faces 33 counts of federal hate crime and firearm charges in the 2015 massacre of nine black worshippers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
“Following the department’s rigorous review process to thoroughly consider all relevant factual and legal issues, I have determined that the Justice Department will seek the death penalty,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Tuesday. “The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision.”
Roof allegedly walked into Emanuel AME “armed with a .45-caliber handgun and eight magazines loaded with hollow-point bullets” and opened fire, killing nine people, ABC News reports.
Authorities say that Roof, whom officials say held white supremacist views, targeted the historically black church with the intention of harming African-American churchgoers.
Roof’s trial date, which was originally set for July, has been changed to Jan. 17, 2017, with jury screening to begin in early December, ABC News reports.
Read more at ABC News.