The accused Charleston gunman, Dylann Roof, bought the semiautomatic pistol used in last week's church massacre at a South Carolina gun store about 25 miles from his home, according to NBC News, citing officials familiar with the sale. The purchase was legal despite Roof's arrest in February for illegal possession of prescription painkillers, officials told NBC. Roof's father gave him a .45-caliber Glock pistol for his birthday this year, his uncle told Reuters.
The U.S. government will no longer threaten to prosecute families who try to pay ransom to win the release of American hostages held overseas, and the United States will directly negotiate with militants holding them but will not pay ransom, officials said on Tuesday. The policy, to be announced by President Barack Obama on Wednesday, changes the way the government handles cases in which Americans are taken hostage by groups like the Islamic State and al Qaeda. The announcement follows a six-month review prompted by sharp criticism of the Obama administration by some victims' relatives, who said they had been threatened with prosecution if they tried to raise money to pay a ransom.