Family members of those murdered during a bible study at a historically black church in South Carolina Wednesday night were given the chance to speak to their loved ones’ alleged killer during his bond hearing today.
“My grandfather and others died at the hands of hate,” said the granddaughter of victim Pastor Simmons. “Hate won’t win.”
The alleged shooter, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, appeared via video before a judge in South Carolina. He wore a jail jumpsuit and stood emotionless as the victims’ relatives addressed him, speaking only to answer questions.
The mother of Tywanza Sanders told Roof that “every fibre in my body hurts.”
“You hurt me, you hurt a lot of people,” another victim’s daughter told the court, sobbing. “But I forgive you.”
When asked his age, he told the judge he was 21. He also told the judge he was unemployed.
The magistrate judge set the bond for a weapons charge at $US1 million but doesn’t have the authority to set bond on the nine murder counts that Dylann Roof faces, AP reported. That will be left up to a circuit judge at a later date.
Police say Roof sat with the Wednesday night bible study group for at least an hour debating whether or not to shoot “because everyone was so nice to him,” NBC reported. He ultimately decided he “had to go through with his mission,” he confessed to law-enforcement officials early Friday.
Roof was captured in Shelby, North Carolina, on Thursday after a motorist spotted him at a traffic light on her way to work. He is reportedly being held in the cell next to Michael Slager, a former Charleston police officer who has been charged in the shooting death of Walter Scott.
The Justice Department announced it will investigate Roof’s crime as a possible act of domestic terrorism.
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