Church members describe lead up to attack plot

Georgia News

GAINESVILLE, Ga (CNN) – The Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church is sharing gratitude and courage, after avoiding what police say was a planned knife attack.

On Wednesday November 6th, a 16-year-old girl showed up to the back door.

There was supposed to be bible study that night – but it was canceled so parishioners could prepare for the church’s 118th anniversary the following weekend.

Brother Robert Clark was with his son, cleaning the floors, when the girl appeared and asked if there was bible study. he said no, and shut the door.

He remembers it was already dark outside and the girl had kept one hand in her pocket.

“There were a lot of things that were going on that night that could have happened,” says Clark, “But y’all got to realize one thing – God was in control of the whole thing.”

More than a week later – police say a fellow Gainesville High School student overheard a conversation about an alleged threat and reported it to a school resource officer.

Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish said the white suspect had researched black churches online, acquired knives, and written down how she planned to carry out the alleged plot.

Reverend Dr. Michelle Riser-Pool said she’s overwhelmed with the support received, including people from all communities who came to this Sunday’s service.

“It lets you know that we’re still a nation that loves and takes care, and wants to support one another, because we recognize that what happens to one happens to us all,” said Riser-Pool.

The suspect is charged with criminal attempt to commit murder.

She is expected to have a court hearing Tuesday, where it will be determined whether she’s tried as an adult.

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