Watch CBSN Live

Dylann Roof indicted on federal hate crime charges

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The man accused of slaying nine black church members in Charleston was indicted on federal hate crime charges on Wednesday.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the 33 charges at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. Lynch said Dylann Roof sought out African-Americans, in particular the African-American church Emanuel AME because of its historical significance.

The survivors and the families of those killed were informed earlier Wednesday about the indictment.

"To carry out these twin goals of fanning racial flames and exacting revenge, Roof further decided to seek out and murder African Americans because of their race," Lynch said. "An essential element of his plan, however, was to find his victims inside of a church, specifically an African-American church, to ensure the greatest notoriety and attention to his actions."

Lynch said no decision to seek the death penalty has yet been made.

The move has been expected since Roof's arrest after the June 17 shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.

Federal officials have previously said that the shootings generally meet the legal requirements for a hate crime and that federal charges were likely. Roof, who is white, appeared in photos waving Confederate flags, and survivors told police that he hurled racial insults during the attack.

After the attack, an apparent manifesto of Roof's popped up online. In it, he appears to write about his alleged plot, including why he picked Charleston as the site for the attack: "I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country."

A law enforcement source told CBS News' Pat Milton that eye witness told authorities that Roof stood up in the church and said words to the effect that he was there to shoot black people, and then uttered other derogatory remarks.

A law enforcement source told CBS News that at the time of the shooting, Roof was essentially homeless. He had no fixed address, and moved from place to place. The FBI is interviewing his parents.

A friend says Roof had told him recently that black people were taking over the world and that something needed to be done for the white race.

View CBS News In