Washington State Man Plans Mass Shooting At New York Supermarket, Police Take Him Into Custody
Only two months after a mass shooter entered a Buffalo, New York, supermarket and opened fire on unsuspecting Black customers, authorities arrested a Washington state man for threatening to terrorize the Buffalo community again by killing Black people there and at a store close by, according to police, reports NPR.
Joey David George, 37, was taken into custody and faces charges of two counts of interstate threats for making repeated calls to Tops supermarket on July 19 and 20, inquiring about the number of Black people in the store, NPR reports.
In a federal criminal complaint, George — going by “Peter”— said he would “make the news if he shot and killed all of the Black people, including all of the women, children, and babies, according to NPR.
According to a federal criminal complaint, The New York Times reports, George said he planned to use assault rifles and other weapons to kill Black people at the supermarket.
The complaint describes the man spouting off about “race war” and “this is what happens in a blue state” during his second call to the grocery store, according to The New York Times.
“The Buffalo community is trying to heal from the horrific shooting at a Tops grocery store,” said Nick Brown, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington. “I cannot imagine the type of fear such hate-fueled threats engendered in those just trying to go about their daily lives.”
“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.
George has threatened other establishments, including a San Bruno, California restaurant in May 2022. He said he would shoot Black and Hispanic customers if the eatery did not close in 20 minutes. Additionally, he allegedly made threatening calls, using racial slurs, to businesses in Maryland, Connecticut, and Washington state, the complaint documents, according to NPR.
Authorities placed George at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, Washington, and he appeared in the Federal District Court in Seattle on Friday, where he heard his charges. According to The New York Times, George is scheduled to appear for a detention hearing on Monday, and Mohammad Hamoudi will represent him as his federal public defender.
Tops supermarket officially reopened its doors to the community on July 15.
The Jefferson Avenue location serves the predominantly Black community and opened in July 2003, according to NPR.