The FBI arrested a South Carolina man after he purchased an illegal handgun from an undercover FBI agent Feb. 15. Benjamin McDowell was arrested in Myrtle Beach and had told the undercover agent he planned an attack in homage to Dylann Roof.
Roof, a white nationalist, was sentenced to death for the killings of nine members of a historically black church in 2015.
McDowell had ties to white supremacist organizations and had written racially charged posts on Facebook, according to WECT. “I love love to act what u think,” wrote McDowell, posting a link to the Temple Emanu-El Conservative Synagogue in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
McDowell reportedly met with the undercover agent several times to purchase the gun and plan the killings. McDowell noted that he “got the heart to do that s***, but I don’t have the good training.” McDowell did not indicate to the officer he had planned a time to conduct an attack.
The agent says McDowell also discussed his beliefs in white power with him and professed a hatred for anything “non-white,” according to court documents. “If I could do something on a f***ing big scale and write on the f***ing building or whatever, ‘In the spirit of Dylann Roof.’”
The federal complaint states that McDowell arranged to meet the agent on Feb. 15, when he bought the gun and ammunition for $109. McDowell purchased a .40 caliber Glock, but the firing pin had been shaved down without McDowell’s knowledge. The agent also sold McDowell hollow point ammunition.
FBI agents arrested McDowell in the parking lot of a hotel later on Feb. 15 and seized the gun and ammunition, according to the New York Daily News.
McDowell has been arrested several times since 2007, and has connections to white supremacist organizations from his time in South Carolina prisons, according to the New York Daily News. Court documents show McDowell has tattoos indicating his affiliations with white supremacist extremists.
McDowell faces charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition, which carries a minimum sentence of one year in prison.