Survivors and the families of those killed by Dylann Roof at Mother Emanuel Church in 2015 have won a major legal battle. CBS News reports that 14 families affected by the shooting will receive an $88 million settlement from the federal government. Individual settlements range anywhere from $5 million to $7.5 million per legal claim.
The families impacted by the mass shooting filed the initial lawsuit in 2016. The group argued that Roof's prior arrest for felony drug use should have prevented him from being able to purchase a gun. Unfortunately, former FBI Director James Comey explains that the bureau missed the opportunity to provide information about Roof's criminal history to the gun store. As a result, the gun store was unaware of Roof's background and sold him the pistol that he used in nine murders and three attempted murders.
After buying the pistol, Roof entered Mother Emanuel Church on June 17, 2015 and opened fire on those in prayer. He killed nine people, injured several others and forever changed the city of Charleston, South Carolina.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Roof was charged and convicted of 33 crimes, including murder, attempted murder and federal hate crimes. Ultimately, he became the first person to be sentenced to death for a federal hate crime. Since his conviction, his attorneys have sought to overturn his death sentence several times to no avail.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.