(CNN)Dylann Roof was “cold and calculating” in planning an attack on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday in opening statements at Roof’s trial in Charleston, South Carolina.
Roof studied the church’s long history in the black community, found out what time a Bible study class would be held, loaded his gun the night before, packed extra ammunition and drove more than an hour to the church, Assistant US Attorney Jay Richardson told the jury of nine whites and three African-Americans.
He was welcomed into the Bible study and displayed a “cold and hateful heart” by sitting with the group more than 30 minutes, Richardson said.
As the 12 people stood to offer prayers and close their eyes, Roof opened fire with a Glock .45-caliber pistol, firing 70 rounds, Richardson said. Nine people were killed.
Tywanza Sanders, one of those killed, told Roof that he didn’t have to shoot them, saying “we mean you no harm,” the prosecutor said, recounting the story of one of the survivors. Roof, who is white, replied, “Y’all are raping our white women, y’all are taking over the world,” Richardson said.
Roof faces 33 federal charges: nine counts of violating the Hate Crime Act resulting in death; three counts of violating the Hate Crime Act involving an attempt to kill; nine counts of obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death; three counts of obstruction of exercise of religion involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon; and nine counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.
If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Roof, 22, also faces nine counts of murder and other charges in the state court system. His trial in that case is scheduled to start in January.
The trial resumes Thursday morning.
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