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June 19, 2015

Dylann Roof's family releases statement on Charleston shooting

The family of Dylann Roof has released a statement regarding the 21-year-old's shooting of nine African Americans to death in a historically black church in Charleston, according to CNN. 

Here is the transcript of the statement, which was released by Roof's public defender: 

"The Roof Family would like to extend their deepest sympathies and condolences to families of the victims in Wednesday night's shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Words cannot express our shock, grief, and disbelief as to what happened that night. We are devastated and saddened by what occurred. We offer our prayers and sympathy for all those impacted by these events.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those killed this week. We have all been touched by the moving words from the victims' families offering God's forgiveness and love in the face of such horrible suffering. 
"Our hope and prayer is for peace and healing for the families of the victims, the Charleston Community, and those touched by these events throughout the state of South Carolina and our nation. 
"As you can imagine, words are hard to find and we would ask that the media respect our family's privacy at this time. "

Roof faced family members of the victims in court Friday, who expressed grief but in some cases forgiveness for him. 

The 21-year-old reportedly admitted to the shooting in the hopes to start a "race war," according to CNN. He is charged with murder, and is being prosecuted by South Carolina prosecutor Scarlett Wilson.

Reuters contributed to this report.