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US to Seek Death Penalty for White Suspect in South Carolina Massacre

FILE - Dylann Roof appears at a court hearing in Charleston, South Carolina, July 16, 2015.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the Justice Department will seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof — the white man accused of last year's massacre in an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Lynch said "the nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision."

South Carolina prosecutors had already said they would pursue the death penalty for Roof.

Roof allegedly killed nine people when he opened fire inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston last June 17.

He is said to have written about his contempt for blacks, Jews and Hispanics on the internet, and a friend told police that Roof talked about starting a civil war.

Along with the murder charges, Roof has been indicted on numerous federal hate crime charges that warrant the death penalty.