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Teen plotted to attack Black church

Georgia

Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 11/21/2019, midnight
A 16-year-old White girl has been arrested after..

A 16-year-old White girl has been arrested after police said classmates reported that she had a plot to attack a Black church in Gainesville, GA, reports NBC News. The unidentified student allegedly had a notebook with plans to murder parishioners at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which has a predominantly Black congregation, according to a release from the Gainesville Police Department. Police were contacted Nov. 15 after the girl’s classmates at the Gainesville High School alerted counselors about the alleged plot. She was charged with criminal attempt to commit murder and is being held at a youth detention center, police said. Bishop Reginald Jackson, presiding prelate of the Sixth Episcopal District of the AME Church, told reporters Tuesday that the girl was inspired by Dylan Roof, the man who was convicted of killing nine Black worshippers at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, four years ago in an effort to start a race war. “Idealizing him and sharing the same ideology, she plotted to accomplish the same at Bethel church in Gainesville,” Jackson said. “This incident raises very serious issues and also raises questions that need to be answered.” The bishop posed the question whether AME churches were being targeted in particular for their history of supporting social justice issues. Jackson said that he’s spoken with church leaders across the state about safety and planned to address the topic with congregations. Representatives for the AME church are asking authorities to charge the girl as an adult. “We call upon the district attorney to try her as an adult,” Jackson said. “To plan this kind of event is not that of a childish mind. This took some planning.”