Earlier this week, law enforcement officers arrested a 29-year-old man who was planning to engage in a racially motivated attack following Dylann Roof’s example. The unemployed man was living with his mother at the time of the incident. Now that he is safely in police custody and evidence was pieced together, his mother speaks out.
She describes her son as a type of man who kept to himself and did not exhibit racist behavior at home. Nevertheless, she says her son spoke with admiration about Dylann Roof’s attack on the African American parishioners on one occasion. 29-year-old Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell was arrested by the FBI after illegally purchasing a firearm from an undercover agent, official court documents state.
On Wednesday morning, as the suspect was in local authorities’ custody, a team of FBI agents showed up at his mother’s door with a search warrant. At first, Clewis, the suspect’s mother, was confused and believed she had done something wrong. Even though they did not go into much detail, the officers told her they were, in fact, after her son, saying he had ties to several white supremacist groups and illegally purchased a firearm recently.
As it turned out, the 19-year-old man asked his mother for $109 to buy the gun. However, he told her he was going to pay somebody to transport him to Alabama where he had a job waiting on him. Clewis says her son told her son felt like he “got to leave the nest”, so he could provide for himself should anything happen to her.
Clewis further said he did not understand how her son got involved with the white supremacy ideology, as her ex-husband and she did everything they could to raise him well. She says McDowell as a little boy always attended church and behaved well. Ultimately, Clewis said her son associated the white supremacy ideology with the Black Lives Matte movement, explaining that if nonwhites can stand up for themselves, whites can do the same. Now that her son is in jail, Clewis believes it is all for the best. At least, she told authorities, she doesn’t have to worry somebody will kill him on the street.
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