When alleged killer Dylann Roof stepped into Shooter’s Choice, he walked around the store in West Columbia before heading to a case featuring a popular pistol: a Glock semiautomatic.
Days after he turned 21 – the legal age to buy a handgun in South Carolina – Roof’s appearance at the shop and subsequent purchase of a Glock .45 Gen4 pistol was captured on several store surveillance videos that were played to a federal jury Monday.
“It’s America’s No. 1-selling firearm,” shop general manager Ronnie Thrailkill told jurors. “The fact it is used by law enforcement gives it its popularity.”
Roof, now 22, is charged with the killing nine African-American parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in June 2015. If convicted, he could get the death penalty.
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FBI Director James Comey would later apologize, saying Roof shouldn’t have been able to purchase the weapon. During a three-day waiting period for a background check, the FBI missed Roof’s arrest for possession of an opioid-like drug, he has said.
That arrest, and his confession that he used the drug, would have prevented Roof from buying the gun. But in testimony Monday, the FBI’s failure wasn’t mentioned.
Instead, Thrailkill, under questioning by assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson, walked the jury through Roof’s visit to the store. Thrailkill explained how Roof filled out background paperwork before the sale because he did not possess a concealed-weapons permit.
If Roof had answered the question on the form truthfully about drug use, he would have been disqualified from buying a handgun. Gun control advocates refer to the failed check as the “Charleston Loophole.”