Dylann Roof, the 21-year old man allegedly behind the slaughter of 9 black churchgoers in Charleston, may not have been alone in the knowledge and planning of the deadly attack.
A joint state and federal investigation into the activities of accused Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof has widened to include other persons of interest, according to multiple sources familiar with the ongoing investigation.
The expanded scope of the investigation now includes people with whom Roof associated in the weeks before the June 17 shootings of nine African-Americans at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, the sources said. Roof, 21, of Columbia, is white.
Although it appears Roof traveled alone to and from Charleston on the day of the killings, it is possible others had some knowledge of what he planned to carry out, said the sources, who are not being identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.
Investigators began to explore how much Roof’s associates knew, and when they knew it, after reviewing his cellphone and computer records, the sources said.
Prosecutors are still studying exactly what charges, if any, some of those associates might face, the sources said.
Asked Friday about the Roof case, U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said, “As the Attorney General (Loretta Lynch) said, ‘We have opened a file on this and are continuing to investigate this tragedy.’ ” He declined to elaborate.
One possible charge could be misprision of a felony, which means a person had knowledge of a crime to be carried out and did not inform law enforcement. Other charges might be lying to a federal law enforcement officer.
Similar charges were brought against associates of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev, so I'm not surprised in the least about the obstruction of justice style of charges. The more disturbing question is whether or not anyone helped Roof plan his deadly attack.
As I've said before, dozens of right-wing domestic terrorist cells operate in the US: white supremacist groups, sovereign citizen outfits, anti-government militias, they're still out there and by and large we pretend they don't exist until after they massacre people in a church or plant a bomb at a MLK Day parade.
It would be nice to take these guys out before somebody gets hurt or killed for once.