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Case grows in church killings

3 attempted murder charges added to 9 murder counts

Charleston church shooting suspect Dylann Storm Roof is accused of killing nine people. (Associated Press)
Charleston church shooting suspect Dylann Storm Roof is accused of killing nine people. (Associated Press)
Meg Kinnard Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The man accused of killing nine people attending Bible study at a historic black church in Charleston has been indicted on three new charges of attempted murder, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Dylann Storm Roof, 21, already had been charged with nine counts of murder, one for each person killed in the June 17 attack at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church. He also faces a weapons charge, and has been indicted on that charge and the murder counts.

Prosecutor Scarlett Wilson said in a statement that the new attempted murder charges stem from survivors of the massacre.

Roof’s defense attorney did not immediately return a message. Roof’s next court date is expected in October.

The court records released Tuesday show that Roof is accused of trying to kill three females, one of whom is a minor.

Federal authorities have not said whether they will pursue hate crime charges against Roof, although Justice Department officials have said they broadly agree the shootings meet the legal requirements for a hate crime.

The new charges come as South Carolina state lawmakers move closer toward possibly removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds. Roof, who is white, appeared in photos waving Confederate flags and burning or desecrating U.S. flags, and purportedly wrote of fomenting racial violence. Survivors told police he hurled racial insults during the attack.

After Roof’s arrest, Republicans, including Gov. Nikki Haley and both of the state’s U.S. senators, called for the flag’s removal. The massacre made taking down the flag – long thought politically impossible in South Carolina – the new go-to position, even for conservative politicians.

State senators gave final approval Tuesday to a bill that would remove the flag. That sends the proposal to the House, where it faces a less certain future.

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