MYRTLE BEACH, SC - The FBI has arrested a man suspected of being a white supremacist who they say talked about carrying out a Dylann Roof style attack.
Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, 29, was taken into custody and booked at the jail in Horry County.
A criminal complaint filed in federal court says back on December 26, McDowell began writing on Facebook about a Jewish synagogue in Myrtle Beach.
McDowell, the complaint states, has established connections with white supremacist extremists that he gained while serving in prison, and has tattoos on his body that show his affiliation with those groups.
On January 5, he made another online post, according to the document, where he began to reference Roof, the man convicted of the racially motivated killing of nine people at an African-American church in Charleston in 2015.
"Dylann Roof did what these tattoos wearing so bad--- is supposed to be doing they don't give f--- about their white race," he wrote.
He went on to say that Jews were "here to destroy the white man." According to the complaint, he went on to say "if you ain't got the heart to fight for Yahweh like dylann roof did [sic] you need to shut the f--- up."
The FBI says a day later, McDowell requested on Facebook Instant Messenger that he wanted "iron," which is a code word for a gun.
On January 12, the FBI says McDowell agreed to meet an undercover FBI agent who McDowell believed handled problems for the Aryan Nations. The two met up at a hotel in Myrtle Beach,
The agent said McDowell voiced frustration over other white supremacists, saying that screaming "white power" wasn't getting the job done.
"I got the heart to do that s---, but I don't have the good training," McDowell reportedly said.
He told the agent, according to the complaint, that he was looking for a way to conduct an attack on non-whites without getting caught.
"I'm wanting to do this s---, and I got the heart to do this," McDowell reportedly said. "I seen what Dylann Roof did and in my heart I reckon I got a little bit of hatred and I..I want do that s---. LIke, I got desire...not for nobody else..it just...I want something where I can say, "I f---ing did that' me personally. If I could do something on a f---ing big scale and write on the f---ing building or whatever, "In the spirit of Dylann Roof."
The agent says McDowell said he had not decided on a place or time to conduct an attack.
In a phone call later, the undercover agent says McDowell wanted him to get a .40 handgun because he intended to conduct the attack outside the county where he lived.
McDowell was not supposed to have a gun because he is a convicted felon.
"I wish the day we all get off Facebook and white Warriors like we was born to be like Dylan [sic] roof be we gotta do it in a smart way." he later wrote.
The FBI says he then called the agent again, I just be plotting it out, like, I mean you just run up there on them if they back there partying, and all, with a f---ing AK and rip them sumbitches down, and throw, a dam something at them."
He reportedly asked again for a gun, and later asked for hollow point ammunition.
The two then agreed to meet in person on February 15, where McDowell would buy the gun. McDowell then purchased the weapon, and agents moved in to take him into custody at a motel in Myrtle Beach.