Published: Fri, February 17, 2017
National | By Traci Kelley

SC man accused of planning attack 'in spirit of Dylann Roof'

SC man accused of planning attack 'in spirit of Dylann Roof'

A man from SC with ties to white supremacist groups and ideals was recently arrested for attempting to buy a gun with the intention to commit a mass shooting "in the spirit of Dylann Roof", stated the federal complaint.

Benjamin McDowell, a 29 year old Myrtle Beach, South Carolina man with white supremacist ties was arrested on Wednesday after investigators say the man planned to execute a Dylan Roof style attack.

McDowell indicated on January 6, he was looking for a gun and met an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation employee about a week later at an unidentified hotel in Myrtle Beach. The Horry County Police Department told the FBI that McDowell had "established White Supremacy Extremist connections while serving prison sentences in SC for various criminal offenses", according to an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Grant Lowe that was filed in federal court.

On a January 5 Facebook post, he wrote about fighting for Yahweh "like Dylann Roof did".

McDowell also told the agent he wanted "do something on a f-ing big scale" and meant to scrawl a message on the temple's wall reading, "In the spirit of Dylann Roof", following his attack.

The Temple Emanu-El Conservative Synagogue in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The document says McDowell posted statements online praising Roof, but did not appear to have formulated any specific attack plans.

During the same meeting, McDowell "further voiced apparent frustration with other white supremacists, stating that screaming "white power" was not getting the job done", the complaint states.

"I have to make sure that. if you going to do what you want to do. that doesn't come back to me", he told the agent.

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McDowell made his first appearance before a judge on Thursday on a charge of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person.

In a Facebook post weeks later, he said Jews were part of a plot to wipe out the white race.

He allegedly expressed a desire to commit a terrorist act, telling the undercover agent: "I seen what Dylann Roof did and in my heart I reckon I got a little bit of hatred". He has multiple convictions for burglary, and has also been convicted of assault of a high and aggravated nature, petty larceny, third-degree assault and malicious injury to property, according to State Law Enforcement Division records.

The FBI says a day later, McDowell requested on Facebook Instant Messenger that he wanted "iron", which is a code word for a gun. He proclaimed that he had the heart for such action "but I don't have the good training". McDowell told the agent he wanted to get away with an attack on non-whites that was large in scale.

McDowell followed that up with further requests to the Federal Bureau of Investigation operative for a gun and ammunition.

The agent also allegedly agreed to pick McDowell up at his mother's house, then drive to his grandfather's home where he planned to borrow money to buy the gun.

On Wednesday, agents arrested McDowell after spotting him "holding a bag in the parking lot of the Hampton Inn in Myrtle Beach".

Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, 29, from Conway, was arrested at around 5 p.m. Wednesday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to records from the J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

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