A 16-year-old white girl has been charged with criminal attempt to commit murder after police say she was plotting to attack a mostly black church in Georgia. According to police, the girl planned to kill worshippers at the church because of their race.
The teenager planned the attack on Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a predominantly black church located in north Georgia.
Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish gave a statement Tuesday saying, “Our investigation indicated the church was targeted by the juvenile based on the racial demographic of the church members,” he said.
Police became aware of the plot when Gainesville High School students told administrators the 16-year-old had a notebook with detailed plans to kill worshippers at the church. School administrators then contacted police, Parrish said.
“It just grieves my spirit on a number of different levels, one that the intentions of this young person were so calculated to do great harm against people who just simply had no knowledge of such a plot,” said the Rev. Rose Johnson Mackey, director of the Newtown Florist Club, a civil rights organization founded in Gainesville 70 years ago.
“We’re just very pleased that our police department acted so swiftly, and the police department in conjunction with our school administrators were just on top of the situation,” Mackey said.
Details of the alleged plot haven’t been released, but Parrish said it came to light Friday when school administrators contacted police.
The girl is being held in a youth detention center in Gainesville.
Police did not release the teen’s name.