S.C. Man Who Planned to Commit Attack ‘In the Spirit of Dylann Roof’ Pleads Guilty to Weapons Charges

Benjamin McDowell

Benjamin McDowell purchased a .40 caliber Glock after telling an undercover agent his plans to commit a Dylan Roof-style massacre. (Photo courtesy of the J. Reuben Long Detention Center).

A South Carolina man accused of planning an attack “in the spirit” of Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof pleaded guilty to weapons charges Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, 30, now faces up to 10 years behind bars for being a felon in possession of a firearm, the Post and Courier reported. He was arrested by the FBI in February after several meet-ups with an undercover agent.

During those meetings, McDowell espoused hate for racial minorities, and “voiced apparent frustration with other white nationalists, saying that screaming ‘white power’ wasn’t getting the job done,” according to the criminal complaint. The Myrtle Beach man said he saw what Roof had done and acknowledged that he harbored the same hate in his heart.

In June 2015, the gunman carried out a bloody attack at a historically Black church in Charleston, killing nine.

“… I want to do that (expletive),” McDowell is quoted as saying in the complaint.

Records filed in the case showed that McDowell, who became radicalized by association with white nationalists during his time in prison, has a history of making racist and anti-Semitic comments. Federal officials began tracking him in mid-January after he told an undercover agent his plans to commit an attack similar to Roof’s.

He later bought a .40 caliber gun with a filed-down firing pin and hollow point ammunition from the agent, the newspaper reported. McDowell was taken into custody the same day.

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