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16-year-old white girl made 'detailed plan' for racist mass killing at black church with butcher knives, police say

Suspect's notebook contained 'manifesto-type' language, says sergeant 

Zoe Tidman
Wednesday 20 November 2019 11:27 GMT
The teenager was plotting to harm multiple people at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Georgia, police say
The teenager was plotting to harm multiple people at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Georgia, police say (AP)

A white teenage girl has been arrested for plotting a racially-motivated attack with sharp knives on a predominantly black US church, police have said.

Students at the 16-year-old's high school flagged concerns over her notebook containing “detailed plans to commit murder” at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a church with a mostly black congregation in Georgia, according to Gainseville Police.

“Our investigation indicated the church was targeted by the juvenile based on the racial demographic of the church members,” Jay Parrish, the police chief, said.

She wrote she wanted to attack black parishioners with butcher knives and other sharp-edged weapons, Sergeant Kevin Holbrook told The Washington Post.

He said her notebook included “a lot of hateful messages” and “manifesto-type” language.

“As far as the details go, they were down to very specific information".

The 16-year-old, who has not been named, has been charged with criminal attempt to commit murder and is being held in a youth detention centre.

Reverend Dr Michelle Rizer-Pool, who leads the congregation at Bethel AME, said she was shocked to hear about the alleged plot.

"When I found out I drove to the church, went inside it and prayed and anointed my church and asked God to put a hedge of protection around us," she said.

"I've been preaching for a while now about being on the battlefield, being a soldier in God's army and that if you believe that God is in charge, he won't allow hurt or harm to come your way.

"One of my members told me: 'You've been getting us ready'. I guess I have."

Earlier this year, the white son of a sheriffs' deputy was arrested over fires at three historically black churches in a parish in Louisiana.

In 2015, fires ravaged multiple predominately black churches in southern US states just weeks after white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine black parishioners during Bible study lesson at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Students, school administrators and law officers worked together to thwart a "potentially horrific incident" in Georgia, Mr Parrish said.

"Hate crimes and domestic terrorism have been on the rise for many years," Reginald T Jackson, head of the Sixth Episcopal District of the AME Church, said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"It is unfortunate we cannot have this perpetrator prosecuted on hate crimes in Georgia because there is no law on the books to address it," he said.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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