A Conway man who police say has connections to a white supremacy group was arrested in Myrtle Beach this week after trying to buy a gun from an undercover FBI agent.
The Myrtle Beach Sun News reports 29-year-old Benjamin McDowell was arrested by the FBI and charged in connection with a felon in possession of a firearm and/or ammunition.
According to an FBI affidavit, McDowell is accused of making plans for a “Dylann Roof ”-style attack against a Myrtle Beach synagogue. According to the federal complaint document, McDowell posted to Facebook an anti-Semitic rant last month referencing Roof and claiming other white supremacists were unwilling to take the same steps as the convicted church shooter.
Court records show McDowell has been arrested seven different times in South Carolina over the past decade. The charges range from malicious injury to animals or property, to third-degree burglary in 2009. His initial six-year sentence was later suspended and reduced to three years. In 2013, he served another 30 days in jail for third-degree assault and battery.
Roof was sentenced to death last month after being found guilty for murdering nine African-American parishioners at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in June 2015. Roof said in his trial that his actions were racially-motivated.
In a sworn statement, the FBI said McDowell told the undercover officer in one conversation that he was “plotting” to shoot people at the synagogue, even fantasizing about using an AK-47. The statement said McDowell purchased a .40 Glock from the agent before the FBI later tracked him down in a Myrtle Beach hotel room.