The Justice Department has struck a $88 million settlement with the families and survivors of the nine parishioners killed in the Charleston, South Carolina church shooting.
In 2015, nine members of Mother Emanuel AME Church were fatally shot while praying during a Bible study session by 21-year-old Dylann Roof. Later, he admitted to the murders and stated that he intended to ignite a race war. After it was found that the FBI’s system for performing background checks failed to prevent the sale of the pistol Roof used in the killing, survivors and relatives of those killed filed a lawsuit against the agency.
Roof was previously arrested in Lexington County, South Carolina, on a felony narcotics charge, according to NBC News. According to reports, the sheriff’s office directed the FBI examiner conducting the background check to contact the Columbia Police Department. However, the FBI’s databases indicated that the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department had no record of Roof being arrested. According to the FBI, the examiner also attempted to contact the Lexington County prosecutor but received no response. Roof bought a Glock 41 at a shopping center in Columbia just two months before the mass murder, after his three-day waiting period for the weapons had elapsed.
Roof was convicted of 33 counts of federal hate crimes for the slayings in 2017, making him the first person in the United States to be sentenced to death for those crimes.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “The mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church was a heinous hate crime that inflicted enormous sorrow for the victims’ families and survivors.” “Since the shooting, the Justice Department has worked to deliver justice to the community, first through a successful hate crime prosecution and now through civil claims settlements.”
Families of those murdered in the massacre will receive $63 million of the $88 million settlement, while survivors will receive $25 million.