A Seattle man has been arrested and charged after he threatened to kill Black shoppers at a market in Buffalo, New York, where a deadly mass shooting occurred just months ago.
According to authorities, Joey David George, 37, was charged with two counts of interstate threats after making multiple calls to a Tops Supermarket last week to find out how many Black people were in the store.
George said he would “make the news if he shot and killed all of the Black people, including all of the women, children, and babies,” per a federal criminal complaint obtained by NPR.
The complaint alleges that George told a Tops employee that there was a chance that he was already in the store or “somewhere nearby” after asking if the store had people in it.
The 37-year-old then threatened to drive to a different Tops location if he didn’t see anybody inside the store.
The Tops market on Jefferson Avenue mentioned by George is the site where 10 Black people were targeted in an alleged white supremacist attack and killed in May.
George also allegedly discussed a “race war” in a second call to the supermarket.
Police say they were able to trace the phone number and identify the suspect though he attempted to block the number using *67.
“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,” U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a statement.
“We cannot tolerate this kind of hate in our community and will not sit by while people seek to terrorize others across our country,” he added.
According to NPR, George is being detained at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, Washington pending further court hearings.