Dylann Roof, 22, the man accused of killing nine people in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church in 2015, was assaulted on Aug. 4 by another inmate in a South Carolina prison.
Roof, who is in protective custody at the Charleston County Detention Center, was on his way to the shower when the beating happened, according to Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon Jr.
The inmate who attacked him, Dwayne Stafford, 25, is facing assault charges. Roof was able to return to his cell after being treated, and no weapons were involved in the assault, sheriff’s deputies say.
Roof was bruised, but not seriously injured, reports New York Daily News.
Roof and his lawyers say they will not be pursuing charges against Stafford. “They have no desire to pursue charges,” Cannon said.
Cannon did not mention his reasoning for the attack. Both security guards were absent on the floor and Stafford’s cell door wasn’t locked when Roof was let out of his cell, says Cannon.
He said Stafford was able to access the protective custody unit and assault Roof with his fists because guards had violated security protocol, reports CNN.
Social media users responded in support of Roof’s attacker. “Whoever assaulted Dylann Roof in jail? Get that man a Whopper!” wrote one Twitter user. This was likely a reference to an article that the police who arrested Roof bought him a meal at Burger King before taking him to jail, reports New York Daily News.
Roof faces the death penalty for the June 2015 shooting that killed nine, including Rev. Clementa Pinckney, at the historic black church, known as "Mother Emanuel" African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Roof, who is Caucasian, told police he wanted to start a race war with the slayings after he was detained.
All nine of those who Roof reportedly killed were black.
On Aug. 1, Roof’s attorneys challenged the possibility of him being sentenced to death, if he's found guilty, citing the punishment as "arbitrary and cruel" and therefore unconstitutional. They said Roof would drop the challenge if federal prosecutors abandoned their decision to seek the death penalty.
Roof is indicted on 33 federal offenses, including hate-crime charges for allegedly targeting his victims on the basis of their race and religion.
"The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in May, regarding prosecutors' efforts to pursue the death penalty.