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FBI ‘Unsure’ If Charleston Attack Was Terrorism

FBI Director James Comey said Thursday he’s still not sure whether a Charleston, South Carolina shooting that resulted in the deaths of nine Black worshipers is an act of terrorism.

The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

21-year-old Dylann Roof is charged in the fatal shootings that took place at Emanuel AME Church on June 17. He apparently wrote a racist manifesto saying that he wanted to “protect the White race.”

In the manifesto, Roof stated that he had “no choice” but to kill the innocent worshipers who welcomed him with open arms into their Bible study class that night.

“I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight,” the manifesto says. “I chose Charleston because it is the most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”

Despite Roof’s motivations, Comey remains unsure of how to classify the incident.

“I don’t know yet,” Comey told The Huffington Post.“I was asked about that a day or so after and said that, based on what I knew at that point, I didn’t see it fitting the definition. Since then, we’ve found the so-called manifesto online, so I know the investigators and prosecutors are looking at it through the lens of hate crime, through the lens, potentially, of terrorism.”

According to Comey, investigators are working “very hard to try to understand the facts, and then Justice will figure out what charges to bring.”

Comey’s views present a clearly distinguishable contrast to former Attorney General Eric Holder. He said the attack was “clearly an act of terrorism,” and referred to it as being a “political-violent” act.

“With a different set of circumstances, and if you had dialed in religion there, Islam, that would be called an act of terror,” Holder said. “It seems to me that, again on the basis of the information that has been released, that’s what we have here. An act of terror.”