The families of the victims in a deadly shooting spree by a professed white supremacist in Charleston, S.C., at a church Bible study in 2015 will share an $88 million payout from the Justice Department as compensation for their losses.
The settlement reached this week for the racially-motivated shooting at Mother Emmanuel AME Church comes as a result of a failure in the background-check system that allowed convicted gunman Dylann Roof to buy a weapon, The Washington Post reported.
Roof, a 27-year-old white man from Columbia, killed nine people, including senior pastor and state Sen. Clementa C. Pinckney, and injured another at the church on June 17, 2015. Upon his capture following a massive manhunt, Roof said he shot the victims, all African American, to start a race war in the United States.
Bakari Sellers, a lawyer for the victims, said the figure was particularly meaningful because the number 88 is significant among white supremacists like Roof, who was convicted on federal hate crimes charges and sentenced to death, The Post reported.
Roof lost his request for a hearing in September, and his petition that a court of substitute judges from other courts be apointed to consider his case was also rejected.