The families of several victims of last year’s deadly shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., have urged forgiveness for gunman Dylann Roof as the federal government pursues the death penalty.
Roof faces 33 federal charges, including nine counts of violating the Hate Crime Act resulting in death.
Rev. Sharon Risher, whose mother was killed in the massacre, told The New York Times she believes executing Roof would be an act of vengeance. She explained that her Christian faith instead calls her to forgiveness.
“My humanness is being broken, my humanness of wanting this man to be broken beyond punishment,” Risher said. “You can’t do that if you really say that you believe in the Bible and you believe in Jesus Christ. You can’t just waver.”