Family: Students bullied teen accused of threatening to shoot up school

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A 17-year-old remains in jail after police charged him with threatening to shoot up his school in Gwinnett County.

Police told Channel 2 Action News that Nathan Bacher made a mental hit list and threatened to shoot people on the last day of school at Providence Christian Academy.

But Bacher's family said the teen only acted out because he was bullied by other students. Jatteni Bacher said his son was teased and discriminated against because of his ancestry.

“You are not from Africa, you are from Arab. You must be a terrorist. When are you going to shoot us up?” he said of the comments made to his son.

Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Tony Thomas went to Bacher's bond hearing.

Thomas spoke with Nathan’s brother Jesse Bacher, who broke down in tears about the allegations.

“He’s innocent. That’s all I know,” he said.

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Students said Bacher would sing “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People repeatedly in class. For two months, he allegedly talked about a last day of school hit list.

Thomas reached out to Dr. Sean Chapman, who is the academy's headmaster.

Chapman said administrators learned about the alleged threats hours before the last day of school when a parent brought the threats to their attention.

During the bond hearing, prosecutors called him a threat to the community and said he kept a mental hit list.

Supporters said Bacher is a bullied kid who was just trying to stand his ground and didn’t have access to a gun.

“I think it was really his way of establishing him as an alpha. He never had any intention of doing any of that,” friend Abigail Israel told Thomas.

More than 130 people form his church and the local Ethiopian community packed the court and waiting area in support.

“He might have said things out of anger or when he got bullied, he might have said things he never meant. But this is a normal kid,” Eric Takele said.

But prosecutors and the judge said they couldn’t take a risk and denied him bond.