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ATLANTA (AP) — A white 16-year-old lady is accused of plotting to assault a largely black church in a north Georgia metropolis, the place police say she deliberate to kill worshippers due to their race.

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church has a predominantly black congregation, Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish mentioned in a Tuesday assertion.

“Our investigation indicated the church was targeted by the juvenile based on the racial demographic of the church members,” he mentioned.

Students, faculty directors and regulation officers labored collectively to thwart a “potentially horrific incident,” he added.

The plot got here to mild when Gainesville High School college students instructed directors the 16-year-old had a pocket book with detailed plans to kill worshippers on the church, Parrish mentioned.

“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,” mentioned The Rev. Rose Johnson Mackey, director of the Newtown Florist Club, a civil rights group based in Gainesville 70 years in the past.

The lady is charged with prison try to commit homicide, the police chief mentioned. She’s being held in a youth detention heart in Gainesville.

Specific particulars of the alleged plot haven’t been launched, however Parrish mentioned it got here to mild Friday when faculty directors contacted police.

“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,” Johnson mentioned.

Gainesville is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Atlanta. It’s a metropolis of simply over 40,000 folks, about 17% of whom are African-American.

The alleged plot comes amid a protracted historical past of black church buildings being bombed, burned and shot up throughout the South — hate crimes that proceed at present.

White supremacist Dylann Roof fatally shot 9 black church members throughout their Bible examine lesson at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, throughout the summer season of 2015. Roof later instructed FBI brokers he had hoped the killings would maybe begin a race conflict.

More just lately, the white son of a sheriff’s deputy was arrested in April and accused of a setting fires that destroyed three black church buildings in rural Louisiana. Holden Matthews is awaiting trial on arson and hate crimes costs within the Louisiana church burnings.

In the Georgia case, police didn’t launch the lady’s identify Tuesday.

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