CHARLESTON, S.C., Aug. 4 (UPI) — Dylann Roof, accused of gunning down nine people at a historic black church in South Carolina a year ago, was assaulted in jail Thursday, authorities said.
Roof was showering just before 8 a.m. Thursday at the Cannon Detention Center when he was attacked by another inmate, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office said.
According to officials, the attacker was Dwyane Marion Stafford, 25.
Roof was struck in the face and body and suffered bruising. Only hands, no weapons, were involved.
Roof and his attorneys have reportedly decided not to charge Stafford, who is black, in the assault.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, officials said there may have been a malfunction with a cell locking mechanism that allowed Stafford to get out and approach Roof.
“We are looking at the issue of the door lock and what may have failed there,” Sheriff Al Cannon said Thursday.
Officials said because Roof is kept in solitary confinement, he is typically escorted by at least one deputy inside the jail when showering. In this case, Cannon said, two deputies became distracted.
“This serves as a wake-up call,” he added. “Up and down the chain, we have to ensure that our folks do not fall prey to the routine.”
Roof faces state and federal charges in the shooting deaths of nine people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in June 2015. If convicted, he faces the death penalty.
Stafford is in jail for armed robbery, officials said.