COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — 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.
On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday seeking comment. Roof is next expected in court in October on the murder charges, and online court records did not show any additional dates for the new indictments, which had not yet been posted.
A state judge already has been appointed. 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 news of the new charges comes 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.