Update (October 23, 2020): The 16-year-old white teen who was charged with plotting to kill Black churchgoers in Georgia was sentenced to four years in juvenile detention on Thursday. 

Caitlyn Pye, a high school student, was charged back in November 2019 with criminal attempt to commit murder after her peers discovered a notebook detailing her plot to kill members of the predominately Black Bethel AME Church in Hall County, The Gainesville Times reported

She had previously attended the church twice for bible study with knives before the discovery of her notebook. During those visits, the services were canceled, and no one was present at the church, WSB reported

A judge sentenced Pye to serve four years at a Department of Juvenile Justice facility, 10 years of probation and counseling. She will stay in juvenile custody until she is 21 years old. 


During court, Pye read a statement apologizing for her actions, saying she was "truly sorry for what I've done."

“I am very sorry. I want to let you know it was a mistake,” she said. 

Bishop Reginald T. Jackson read an impact statement about the shooting. 

“Our churches, rather than being places of worship, study and fellowship, have now become armed sanctuaries, where we have to have security in order to feel safe,” he said, adding that he hopes the sentencing provides Pye an opportunity to receive the resources and help she needs. 

She was also ordered to refrain from contacting any AME churches in the state and is required to stay at least 150 yards from their buildings. 

During the time the notebook was discovered, school officials searched her book bag and found a t-shirt that read "Free Dylann Storm Roof" with swastikas on each arm. 

“On the back of the shirt were several writings including, ‘I’m not crazy I had to do this,’” assistant district attorney Julia Greene said. “’I had to do it because somebody had to do something, because Black people are killing White people every day on the streets. What I did is still minuscule compared to what they’re doing to White people every day. I do consider myself a White supremacist.’”  

Roof executed a mass shooting at a historically Black AME church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. Nine people were shot and killed during the attack, as Blavity previously reported

Since the shooting in Georgia, the church has spent more than $8,000 on security measures including changing the locks, upgrading their surveillance system and hiring police.

Original (November 19, 2019): Georgia students may have prevented a possible attack on a Black church after turning in a peer's notebook to school administrators. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports an unidentified 16-year-old white girl plotted an attack on the majority Black Bethel AME Church in Hall County, Georgia. The details of the attack were kept in a notebook that was brought to the attention of school officials who then went to the police. The girl also began building a knife collection, but it's not yet been established how she intended to execute the killings. 

On Tuesday, Gainesville Police posted a press release stating the girl was in custody. 







View this post on Instagram









Please see recent news release.

A post shared by Gainesville Police Department (@gainesvillepd) on


In the statement posted to Instagram, police said they were notified by Gainesville High School Friday of the student's detailed plans to kill at the church. 

“Our investigation indicated the church was targeted by the juvenile based on the racial demographic of the church members,” Police Chief Jay Parrish said in the release. “The church was immediately notified of the incident by Gainesville police to ensure the safety of our community and the current threat was under control.”

“This is an active investigation and a prime example of how strong relationships between the student body, school administration and law enforcement can intercept a potentially horrific incident,” the chief concluded. 

She's been charged with criminal attempt to commit murder and is currently being held at the Gainesville Regional Youth Center. 

The incident is disturbingly reminiscent of the mass shooting carried out by white supremacist Dylann Roof at Charleston, South Carolina's, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015. Nine were killed in the tragedy. Roof was 21 years old at the time and chuckled while confessing to the massacre. The bowl-shaped haircut he wore during the shooting was recently added to the database of hate symbols as fellow white supremacists began wearing the style in camaraderie with Roof. He is now sitting on death row.