White suspect in massacre at black U.S. church appears in court

  • World
  • Saturday, 20 Jun 2015

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - A 21-year-old white man accused of murdering nine people in a historic black South Carolina church appeared in court on Friday by closed-circuit television from the jail where he was brought after his arrest at the end of a 14-hour manhunt.

Dylann Roof, 21, stood quietly through the hearing, providing brief answers to the judge's questions, confirming his name and address and saying he was unemployed before family members of several of the nine worshippers he is alleged to have shot dead at the nearly-200-year-old Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church spoke. Some said they forgave Roof.

Judge James Gosnell, who had no authority to release Roof on the nine murder charges he faces, set a bond of $1 million for the one gun charge he faces. Roof remains in custody.

The attack came in a year that has seen waves of protest across the United States over police killings of unarmed black men in cities including New York, Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, sparking some of the largest race riots the nation has seen since the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

From U.S. President Barack Obama, who said the attack stirred memories of "a dark past," to residents on the streets of Charleston, Americans expressed outrage at an act intended to provoke a "race war" in the United States.

(Additional reporting by Luciana Lopez and Brian Snyder in Charleston, South Carolina, and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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