The family of a white man accused of killing nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church is asking for privacy during his upcoming trial.

Relatives of Dylann Roof said in an email statement Tuesday afternoon they are "still in anguish and shock that a member of our family could have committed such a terrible, senseless crime" and are "still struggling to understand why Dylann caused so much grief and pain to so many good people."

The statement goes on to say Roof's relatives "pray that the Emanuel AME families and the Charleston community will find peace."

Roof's federal death penalty trial in the June 2015 shooting is scheduled to start later this month. He also faces the death penalty in a state trial set for next year.