“The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the US Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina are opening a hate crime investigation into the shooting that took place at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston,” the DOJ said.
The federal investigation will be conducted alongside a state investigation into the shooting, which local police and officials have described as a hate crime.
Nine people were killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on Wednesday, after what police described as a white 21-year-old male suspected opened fire in the church.
Police are looking for the suspect.
The shooting comes as there is mounting distrust between African Americans and police. A poll conducted for Sputnik by ICM Research in December 2014 revealed only 33 percent of African Americans feel protected by law enforcement. The same poll found only 46 percent of US residents consider the police the main factor ensuring their security