A jail clerk made a mistake when entering information about the location of a drug arrest for South Carolina church shooting suspect Dylann Roof, the first in a series of missteps that allowed Roof to purchase a gun he shouldn’t have been able to buy two months before the attack, the Associated Pres reports. Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said the jail discovered mistakes two days after Roof’s drug arrest, but the change wasn’t corrected in the state police database of arrests. So when a FBI examiner pulled Roof’s records in April, she called the wrong agency, and Roof was allowed to buy the .45-caliber handgun that would be used in the June 17 shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
FBI Director James Comey promised a full review when he said Roof should have never been allowed to buy the gun. The sheriff now has promised to make changes that would flag discrepancies like the one that appeared to let Roof slip through the cracks. He didn’t name the employee who made the error or say if the worker faced any discipline. The FBI allows a gun sale if it can’t give a definitive answer about whether someone can buy the gun after three days, which is what happened in Roof’s case. The FBI examiner knew Roof had an arrest record, but couldn’t find the documents. Last year, the FBI reported about 2 percent of background checks end with the FBI not getting enough information and failing to give an answer. Officials said they do about 58,000 checks on a typical day, handled by about 500 people at a call center.