FBI: Checks failed on church gunman
Published 10/07/2015 | 18:46
FBI director James Comey has said the gunman charged over the Charleston church massacre should not have been allowed to purchase the gun used in the attack.
Mr Comey attributed the problem to incomplete and inaccurate paperwork related to an arrest of Dylann Roof weeks before the shooting.
He said an FBI examiner who looked into Roof's background when he tried to purchase a gun never saw an arrest report in which police say he admitted to possessing drugs. The arresting agency was listed erroneously on the document that the examiner reviewed.
Under FBI rules, that admission should have disqualified Roof from being able to buy a gun.
The transaction went through after three days because the examiner did not have enough information to authorise or deny it.
"If she had seen that police report," Mr Comey said, "that purchase would have been denied."
He said he learned about the problem last night and that FBI officials planned to meet later with relatives of the shooting victims. He said he had also directed an internal 30-day review into how the FBI uses criminal background checks in gun transactions.
His announcement came within hours of the Confederate flag's removal from the South Carolina Statehouse. Families of the victims attended the ceremony.