Police announced they arrested a 16-year-old white girl who allegedly planned to visit the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hall County and kill those inside.
She was charged with criminal attempt to commit murder and taken to the Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center. Her name has not been released. The teenager targeted Bethel AME because of its African American congregants and small congregation, the police chief said. Started more than a century ago, the predominantly black church has more than 40 members, congregants said. “Our investigation indicated the church was targeted by the juvenile based on the racial demographic of the church members,” police Chief Jay Parrish said Tuesday in a news release.
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hall County
The teen collected knives. She had a notebook with “detailed plans to commit murder.” Gainesville High School administrators learned of the alleged plot from students. They turned the investigation over to Gainesville police. The plot had been in the works for at least two weeks, according to Gainesville police spokesman. Gainesville police’s investigation continues. It’s unclear if the teen was alone in the plot. Georgia is one of four states without a hate crimes law.