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Washington man arrested in connection to alleged threat made against Tops on Elmwood Avenue

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Posted at 1:43 PM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 14:01:58-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A Washington man has been arrested in connection to an alleged threat made against Tops Friendly Markets on Elmwood Avenue Tuesday.

Buffalo police told 7 News earlier this week the threat was made Tuesday evening and the store closed early in connection to the threat. The store reopened Wednesday.

The U.S. Attorney's Office announced 37-year-old Joey David George of Lynnwood, Washington was arrested and charged in U.S. District Court in Seattle with making interstate threats.

According to the criminal complaint, George allegedly called the Tops on Elmwood Avenue Tuesday, spoke to an employee and threatened to shoot Black people in the store. George also allegedly called the store again Wednesday and ranted about a "race war."

He is also charged in connection to a May 2022 phone call to a restaurant in California. He allegedly threatened to shoot Black and Hispanic people in the restaurant. The criminal complaint describes other calls George allegedly made where he allegedly used racial slurs and threatened to shoot customers.

This is the second reported threat made against the Elmwood Avenue location.

In May, just days after the mass shooting at Tops on Jefferson Avenue, 33-year-old Andrew J. Marsh was arrested after he allegedly made a threat against a manager and two employees of the Elmwood location. The threats allegedly referenced the mass shooting.

“The Buffalo community is trying to heal from the horrific shooting at a Tops grocery store. 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.”
- U.S. Attorney Nick Brown