In addition to the nine state murder charges suspected Charleston shooter Dylann Roof is facing, federal investigators are also considering bringing hate-crime charges against the 21-year-old, according to a New York Times report.
Sources told the New York Times that there is a consensus among officials in the Department of Justice and FBI that federal charges are necessary in the case, given the apparent racial motivations behind the massacre.
Unlike other states, South Carolina does not have a state hate-crime law to address the racial aspects of the attack that left nine African Americans dead in a historic black church last week, making federal charges more likely, officials said.
“This directly fits the hate-crime statute. This is exactly what it was created for,” one law enforcement official, speaking anonymously, told the Times.
When asked to comment by the Times, a Department of Justice spokesperson only said that the investigation was ongoing. Attorney General Loretta Lynch had previously announced Thursday the agency had opened a hate-crime investigation.