Lynnwood man pleads guilty to threats to shoot black shopkeepers


A Seattle suburban man accused of threatening to shoot black shoppers at grocery stores in Buffalo, New York, and businesses in other states has pleaded guilty to making interstate threats and the hate crime of interfering with a federally protected activity.

US attorney Nick Brown said Lynnwood Joey George pleaded guilty Monday. As part of a plea deal, George, 37, admitted to making phone calls shooting black customers at supermarkets in Buffalo, restaurants in California and Connecticut, and a marijuana dispensary in Maryland, Brown said.

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He has also agreed to pay refunds to the affected businesses, at least one of which has been closed due to the threats.

Under the plea deal, George called the supermarkets in Buffalo on July 19, 20 and 21 and threatened to shoot black people in the stores. George told the store staff to “take him seriously” and ordered the store to clean up the customers while he “prepared to shoot all black customers”. A shop closed.

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In May, a gunman killed 10 black people and injured several others at Tops Friendly Supermarket in Buffalo. A 19-year-old white man with ties to white supremacy has pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges in that case.

George did not call the same store, but referred to it in threats, prosecutors said.

His other appeals to businesses in other states also included threats to black people and in one case to Hispanic people, prosecutors said. He admitted his racial hatred to the local law enforcement officers who used caller ID to trace the call, Brown said.

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George has been in custody since his arrest in July. He will be sentenced in December.