A Washington state man was arrested for allegedly calling a Buffalo supermarket and threatening to kill Black people there and at a nearby store where a white gunman killed 10 Black people in May, authorities said Friday.
Joey David George, 37, is accused of calling a Tops grocery store on July 19 and asking how many black people were inside. He then asked if 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 a federal criminal complaint.
George went on to say that he had assault rifles, was a “really good shot” and “could pick off people from the parking lot,” the complaint says.
The suspect also said that if he didn’t see anyone at the store, he would go to the nearby Tops store on Jefferson Avenue, the site of the mass shooting in May, according to the complaint.
The next day, George called back and ranted about a “race war.”
“This is what happens in a blue state,” he said, according to the complaint.
The caller tried to mask his phone number by using *67, but the FBI was able to trace the calls to George’s phone, the complaint says.
The calls to the Buffalo Tops stores were the latest in a series of racist threats made by George, the FBI says in the complaint.
On May 12, he called a Shari’s Restaurant and Pies in San Bruno, California, and threatened to shoot any Black or Hispanic customers in the restaurant if it didn’t close in 20 minutes, the complaint says.
And last year, he made similar calls to stores and restaurants in Maryland and Connecticut, the complaint says.
George, of Lynnwood, Washington, was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of interstate threats. His arraignment was scheduled for Friday afternoon.
A lawyer was not listed in court records.
“The Buffalo community is trying to heal from the horrific shooting at a Tops grocery store," U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a statement. "I cannot imagine the type of fear such hate fueled threats engendered in those just trying to go about their daily lives."
The Tops grocery store where the mass shooting took place reopened earlier this month.