Just over a day after a white man killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, the killings are officially being investigated as possible acts of domestic terrorism and a hate crime by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“The department is looking at this crime from all angles, including as a hate crime and as an act of domestic terrorism,” Department of Justice spokeswoman Emily Pierce said in a statement to the media.
With early controversy about calling the murders a hate crime and terrorism, this is the first time federal authorities have stated they are considering both options during the investigation.
Dylan Roof, 21, is charged with nine murders committed on Wednesday night. He’s currently being held in a maximum security prison in South Carolina.