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Gainesville teen accused of planning racially motivated attack against Hall County black church
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church is located on Mill Street in Gainesville. - photo by Nick Bowman FCN regional staff

A Gainesville High School student allegedly planned an attack on a local black church “based on the racial demographic of the church members,” police said.

Gainesville school resource officers learned Friday, Nov. 15, that a white, 16-year-old girl had a notebook with “detailed plans to commit murder” at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Mill Street.

“The school administration conducted the preliminary investigation and verified the threat. They immediately turned the investigation over to Gainesville Police,” Cpl. Jessica Van wrote in a news release Tuesday, Nov. 19.

The girl was taken into custody and charged with criminal attempt to commit murder. She was transported to the Regional Youth Detention Center in Gainesville.

“Our investigation indicated the church was targeted by the juvenile based on the racial demographic of the church members,” Van wrote in a news release.

Police said the church was notified to ensure the threat was being handled.

Jeremy Williams, Gainesville City Schools superintendent, said he is proud of the students who came forward about the planned attack. 

“When it got brought forward, it was very sobering to know that plans like that do go on in many communities, and in this case, went on in our community,” Williams said. “If it wasn’t for those students turning the information over to administration and (Gainesville High Principal Jamie) Green, we’d be having a different conversation today.”

This article will be updated.

See the Gainesville Times's original story here.