A 37-year-old Lynnwood, Washington, man was arrested and charged Thursday with making interstate threats when he allegedly called a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, saying he wanted "to shoot Black people," and ranted about a "race war," federal law enforcement reported Friday.
In a press release from the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington, U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said Joey David George, 37, of Lynnwood, Washington, called the New York state store July 19 and 20 saying that he planned to "shoot Black people in the store," less than a week after a white gunman was indicted by a federal grand jury for killing 10 Black people and wounding three others in another Tops Supermarket in Buffalo May 14.
"The Buffalo community is trying to heal from the horrific shooting at a Tops grocery store. I cannot imagine the type of fear such hate fueled threats engendered in those just trying to go about their daily lives," Brown said in the release. "We cannot tolerate this kind of hate in our community and will not sit by while people seek to terrorize others across our country."
Federal officials said that George allegedly called other businesses throughout the country during the last 12 months threatening violence against minority groups in California, Maryland, Connecticut and Washington State, using racial slurs in his threats.
He was held at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, Washington, pending a Friday afternoon court hearing, officials said.
The incident comes days after a federal grand jury indicted Broome County, New York, resident Payton Gendron, 19, on 27 counts, including 10 hate crimes, following the May 14 deadly attack at a Tops store in Buffalo located in a primarily Black neighborhood, NPR reported July 14.
"The Justice Department fully recognizes the threat that white supremacist violence poses to the safety of the American people and American democracy," NPR reported U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland saying in a news release at the time. "We will continue to be relentless in our efforts to combat hate crimes, to support the communities terrorized by them, and to hold accountable those who perpetrate them."
According to the Department of Justice, George's case is being investigated by the FBI with the assistance of multiple local police departments.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Woods and Rebecca Cohen in consultation with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the agency said.
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