Dylann Roof has been charged with nine counts of first degree murder
Dylann Roof has been charged with nine counts of first degree murder and one count of possessing a firearm while committing a crime of violence in connection with the murders of nine people during a Wednesday evening prayer meeting in the sanctuary of the Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. Roof appeared with court-appointed counsel. The judge found probable cause to support the ten charges and set bail at $1 million. Roof did not enter a plea today because this was an initial appearance, not an arraignment.
The most notable event that occurred during the brief appearance was the comments by members of the various victim’s families. In a remarkable showing of love, solidarity and support for each other in this very difficult time. Most forgave him for what he did as tears rolled down their faces. As the hearing wrapped up, a large crowd of people arrived on foot in front of the courthouse singing gospel songs.
The most chilling circumstance of this incomprehensible crime was revealed by Mr. Roof during a police interview. He told them that he sat in the sanctuary for an hour witnessing the prayer meeting before he pulled out a gun and executed the nine people. I cannot wrap my mind around that. He also admitted to police that the people welcomed him to attend the prayer meeting and almost decided to leave without killing anyone. He decided to stay in order :to complete the mission.
This was a racially motivated crime, but South Carolina is one of five states that does not have a law prohibiting hate crimes. We know that it was racially motivated because Mr. Roof admitted that it was. Despite his admission, most of the Republican candidates have shied away from calling it that.
Meanwhile, as the U.S. flag flies at half mast, the Confederate flag flies at the top of the flagpole. How do you feel about that?