Feds Bust Man Allegedly Planning Dylann Roof-Style Attack

A known white supremacist bought a gun from a federal agent that he allegedly planned to use in an attack

Feb 16, 2017 at 6:14 PM ET

The Federal Bureau of Investigations on Wednesday arrested a South Carolina white supremacist who allegedly bought a gun from a federal agent that he planned to use in an attack on Jewish people. The man described his plot as “in the spirit of Dylann Roof,” the self-styled white supremacist who murdered nine black people at a church in Charleston in 2015.

Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, 29, is a known white supremacist with an extensive criminal history. According to federal complaint filed Thursday, on December 26 McDowell posted a link on Facebook to the Temple Emanu-El Conservative Synagogue in Myrtle Beach with the caption, “I love love to act what u think?” Local police in Horry County saw the message and reported it to the FBI, indicating that McDowell was a white supremacist who had served time in prison.

Later, on January 5, McDowell posted another message on Facebook, this one mentioning Roof — who was sentenced to death last month for the massacre at the Emanuel AME Church — noting that other white supremacists should follow his lead.

“Dylann Roof did what these tattoos [sic] wearing so badass is supposed to be doing,” he wrote, according to the complaint. “They don’t give a f*** about their white race.” He added that those involved in the white supremacist cause “should be Feasting on the enemy that stole their Heritage and their bloodline and trying to run us off of this Earth you can post pictures of f****** Viking and swords all the s*** you want to post if you ain’t got the heart to fight for Yahweh like dylann roof did you need to shut the f*** up…”

The following day, FBI agents examined his Facebook messages and found one talking about how he needed to get his hands on “iron,” which the feds say is “a coded term for a gun.”

McDowell then met at a hotel with an undercover FBI agent who he was told “handled problems for the Aryan Nation,” a white supremacist organization primarily found in the nation’s prison systems. He told the agent that he was looking for a gun and that he planned to use it in an attack on non-whites.

“I seen what Dylann Roof did and in my heart I reckon I got a little bit of hatred and I…I want to do that shit,” he told the agent. He went on to say, “If I could do something on a fucking big scale and write on the fucking building, or whatever, ‘in the spirit of Dylann Roof.”

With federal agents monitoring him, and as he was attempting to purchase illegal firearms, McDowell’s racist tirades on social media continued. As did the adoration of Roof.

“I wish the day we all get off Facebook and white Warriors like we was born to be like Dylann Roof,” he posted on January 25.

On Wednesday, McDowell again met with the agent and purchased a .40-calibur Glock pistol and hollow point ammunition for $109. The firing pin on the weapon, the FBI points out, was shaved down unbeknownst to McDowell rendering it essentially useless. Shortly after the sale, agents moved in and took McDowell into custody. He’s been charged with one count of felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition.