A SC man with white supremacy connections was charged Wednesday after buying a gun from an undercover agent with the intention to carry out an attack "in the spirit of Dylann Roof". The man is a recently released ex-convict that built bonds with groups tied to white supremacist ideologies as he served his prison sentences for various offenses.
WECT also reports that McDowell met with the undercover agent several times to purchase the gun and plan the killings. The agent told McDowell that he had to make sure that their connection stayed secret, and that whatever McDowell planned to do "doesn't come back to me".
The post references Roof, the self-proclaimed white supremacist who massacred nine black people attending Bible study at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015.
On December 26, 2016, McDowell posted to Facebook a message: "I love love to act what u think", followed by a link to the Temple Emanu-El Conservative Synagogue in Myrtle Beach, according to court documents.
He said he wanted to commit a "big scale" attack and write on the wall of a building, "In the spirit of Dylann Roof".
A review of Facebook instant messenger revealed that the following day, McDowell requested an "iron", which is a code word for gun, the complaint states.
A S.C. Law Enforcement Division background check on McDowell indicates he received a suspended sentence and was put on probation in 2009 after a felony third degree burglary charge and a misdemeanor charge of attempted burglary.
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.
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"I'm wanting to do this s--, and I got the heart to do this", McDowell reportedly said.
McDowell met with an undercover FBI agent on January 12 believing the agent "handled problems for the Aryan Nations", according to the federal complaint.
Told the man according to the complaint: 'I seen what Dylann Roof did and in my heart I reckon I got a little bit of hatred and...
"I wish the day we all get off Facebook and white Warriors like we was born to be like Dylan roof but we gotta do it in a smart [way]", the post read. "I want something where I can say, "I f--ing did that".me personally".
On Wednesday, McDowell handed the operative $109 for hollow point bullets and a.40-caliber Glock pistol that had been disabled without his knowledge. Benjamin McDowell was arrested in Myrtle Beach and had told the undercover agent he planned an attack in homage to Dylann Roof.
At the time of his arrest, McDowell was in the parking lot of a Myrtle Beach Hampton Inn holding a bag.
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. A preliminary and detention hearing is scheduled for February 21.