White supremacist who likened self to Dylann Roof pleads guilty


A white supremacist in South Carolina who was planning an attack "in the spirit of Dylann Roof" pleaded guilty this week to a weapons charge and faces up to 10 years in prison.

Authorities first began looking into Benjamin McDowell in 2016 when he threatened a Myrtle Beach synagogue on Facebook. He was also being monitored by local officials after he made friends with white supremacist groups, and he received tattoos associated with racist groups while in prison for burglary, according to the FBI.

McDowell told an undercover FBI agent who offered to get him a gun that he planned to attack in the name of white power and write "in the spirit of Dylann Roof" on the building, according to court records.

"I seen what Dylann Roof did and in my heart I reckon I got a little bit of hatred," the undercover agent recalled McDowell saying.

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McDowell had also written on Facebook that Jews were part of a plot to erase the white race.

"All they wanne do is stay loaded on drugs the Jews put here to destory white man and they fest on the drugs (sic)," he wrote in January of 2017, according to the complaint.

He was arrested last year.

Roof was sentenced to death last year for killing nine black worshippers at a South Carolina church.

The 30-year-old McDowell pleaded guilty Monday to being a felon in possession of a weapon. He couldn't legally own a gun because of the burglary conviction.

"Clearly, the question in this case is was he ever going to do anything?" Myrtle Beach lawyer Greg McCollum, who does not represent McDowell, told WMBF. "I don’t know if anyone knows the answer to that. I would think if there was evidence that he planned to carry this out, I would think if there were more charges that would be brought, the government would have brought them."

With News Wire Services