A South Carolina man accused of purchasing a gun as part of a racist plan to stage a church shooting pleaded guilty this week to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
As Fox News reported, authorities say 30-year-old Benjamin McDowell confided in an undercover FBI agent, describing a desire to attack a target in the name of white supremacy.
Police have tracked such violent rhetoric back to at least December 2016, when investigators believe he posted a threatening message online aimed at a synagogue in Myrtle Beach.
According to the agent’s report, McDowell said he wanted to stage an attack “in the spirit of Dylann Roof,” the man sentenced to capital punishment for a deadly mass shooting at a predominantly black church in Charleston, S.C.
“I seen what Dylann Roof did and in my heart I reckon I got a little bit of hatred,” McDowell reportedly told the undercover agent.
Local authorities claim McDowell previously had known associations with white-power hate groups.
He also reportedly displayed racist tattoos he received behind bars while serving a prior sentence for a felony burglary conviction.
The suspect’s criminal history paved the way for his latest conviction, which could land him in jail for 10 years with an attached fine of up to $250,000 when he goes back to court for sentencing.
McDowell allegedly agreed to purchase from the agent a firearm and ammunition he intended to use in the attack.
The gun he actually obtained had been disabled, according to authorities, and gave them cause to arrest him on suspicion of illegally owning a firearm.
[Featured image: Benjamin McDowell/Horry County Sheriff’s Office via Associated Press]