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FBI Says Background Check Error Let Charleston Shooting Suspect Buy Gun

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

FBI Director James Comey said Friday that a bureau employee made a mistake in reviewing Charleston, S.C., church shooting suspect Dylann Roof's application for a gun in April.

Roof had admitted to possessing a controlled substance weeks before the church shooting, which should have triggered an FBI denial of his application. But an FBI background check examiner never saw that admission on his arrest records because of mistakes in paperwork and flaws in communication with state law enforcement.


FBI officials in South Carolina are briefing or have already briefed family members of the nine people slain at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on the situation.

Comey told reporters in Washington, D.C., that "I'm here today to talk to you about a mistake in a matter of heartbreaking importance to all of us. Dylann Roof, the alleged killer of so many innocent people at the Emanuel AME Church, should not have been allowed to purchase the gun he allegedly used that evening."

The FBI director has launched a 30-day review of policies and procedures over flaws he said are heartbreaking.

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