George reportedly remarked on the first call that he would be on the news if he “shot and killed every black man, including every woman, child and baby” in the grocery store. He told an employee he was near or inside the premises, according to court documents.
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Asking if the store had been evacuated, George reportedly said he would choose to attack the store where the May 14 mass shooting occurred, which is located on Jefferson Avenue, if there were no Blacks to shoot at the Elmwood store when he got there.
Tops spokeswoman Kathleen Sautter said the Elmwood store was closed and evacuated following the threat and the Buffalo Police Department responded. “We take every threat seriously and our team works with local law enforcement to assess threats and respond accordingly,” she said.
A public defender assigned to represent George, who was scheduled to appear before a judge in Seattle on Friday afternoon, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Tops on Jefferson Avenue, in a mostly black neighborhood that has long been considered a food desert, reopened to the public after a renovation on July 15. A 19-year-old Binghamton, NY-area man, Payton Gendron, is charged with killing 10 black people and injuring three others at the store on May 14. He faces multiple murders, hate crimes and other charges in state and federal courts.
According to court documents, George made a second call to the Tops store on Elmwood Avenue the day after the threat. He reportedly “declaimed a race war” and said, “That’s what happens in a blue state.”
Nick Brown, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, said in a statement that Buffalo is “trying to heal from the horrific shooting” on May 14 and that he “cannot imagine the type of fear these threats fueled by the hatred have engendered in those who are just trying to go about their daily business.”
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George also faces charges for allegedly making racially related threats at a restaurant in San Bruno, California on May 12. He reportedly said in a phone call to Shari’s Restaurant and Pies that he would shoot all black and Hispanic customers if the store did not close within 20 minutes.
When a San Bruno police officer spoke to George, who used the alias “Tony Sumorrah”, he told the officer that he wanted to scare black people in the Bay Area and that black people are “underpowered.” humans”.
Justice Department officials also alleged that George threatened a marijuana dispensary in Rockville, Maryland, and a Denny’s in Connecticut in September. He also allegedly threatened a Seattle dispensary by phone in January.
Using a pejorative term for black people, George, using the alias “David Lester”, reportedly told the Verilife Dispensary in Rockville on September 11 that he would “shoot and kill” black customers there. When the store manager tried to defuse the threats during a call with George, the suspect allegedly answered by threatening a particular employee, “accurately describing the employee’s appearance, including their skin color”.