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A Seattle-area man who authorities say made racist threats at stores across several states was charged after threatening to kill Black people shopping at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, two months after a store in the city was the site of a racist attack that killed 10, the Justice Department said Friday.
On Thursday the FBI arrested Joey David George, of Lynnwood, Washington — about 15 miles north of Seattle — on two counts of interstate threats.
Federal authorities say George, 37, called a different Tops supermarket in Buffalo on Tuesday, asking an employee how many Black people were in the store then threatening to kill them.
George told the employee if there wasn’t anyone at the store, he’d travel to the Tops location that was attacked May 14. Authorities said the gunman in that attack traveled to the store specifically to target Black shoppers.
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George told the employee he was a “really good shot” and could “pick off people” from the parking lot, the federal complaint states. He also claimed to have assault weapons, authorities say.
The suspect called again on Wednesday and ranted about a “race war” and New York being a liberal state.
Federal authorities tracked the call back to George.
In the federal criminal complaint, authorities say George also called a restaurant in San Bruno, Calif. and threatened to shoot any Black or Hispanic person in the restaurant, which is just south of San Francisco, if it didn’t close within 20 minutes.
The suspect said he wanted to “strike fear into the Bay Area’s Black community.”
Authorities say they tied George to similar calls to businesses and restaurants in states including Maryland, Connecticut and Washington. In those calls, he threatened to shoot and kill Black people or bomb those locations if they didn’t shutter, the charging documents show.
George was arrested Thursday and is being held at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, Washington.
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