By Tyler Clifford
(Reuters) -The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday said it settled civil cases brought by survivors and families of victims of a massacre in 2015, in which nine Black people were killed at a historic South Carolina church.
The agreement settles more than a dozen claims that blamed the FBI for failing to prevent a gun from being sold to Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who said he wanted to start a “race war” when he opened fire inside the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015.
Five survivors will receive $5 million, while the families of those killed in the shooting will each receive between $6 million and $7.5 million, according to a news release.
“The mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church was a horrific hate crime that caused immeasurable suffering for the families of the victims and the survivors,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “Since the day of the shooting, the Justice Department has sought to bring justice to the community, first by a successful hate crime prosecution and today by settling civil claims.”
Families and survivors argued in lawsuits that the FBI’s background check system did not flag that Roof was banned from having a firearm before he purchased a handgun that was used in the mass shooting.
In December 2016, a jury found Roof guilty of 33 federal charges for the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, whose congregation dates back two centuries. The same jury sentenced him to death in January 2017.
(Reporting by Tyler Clifford; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bernadette Baum)