Georgia store shootings: White man faces hate crime charges

·2 min read

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal grand jury in Georgia has brought hate crime charges against a white man accused of shooting into two convenience stores and targeting the people there because of their race last July. Police said he made his intentions clear at the time.

“This is a hate crime and this is a targeted hit,” Larry Edward Foxworth, 48, of Jonesboro told officers, according to a news release sent by the Clayton County Police Department after his arrest.

Prosecutors said Foxworth is charged with repeatedly firing a handgun into the stores near his home about 2:30 a.m. on July 30, 2021. Authorities have not said what race or minority group Foxworth allegedly said he was targeting.

Police said officers were investigating reports of gunshots and criminal damage to property at one gas station when they heard gunfire at another. They went there and stopped a car weaving in the road. They found a bag of ammunition including spent shell casings, as well as an open alcoholic beverage container, the news release said.

Foxworth was arrested at the time on state charges of making terroristic threats, obstructing law enforcement officers, open container and improper lane change, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. The federal indictment charges him with two counts each of hate crime and of using a firearm in a violent crime, the U.S. attorney in Atlanta said in a news release Wednesday.

“No person should be afraid to shop or go to work in our community. Nor should people have to worry that they may be violently attacked because of the color of their skin,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan.

It was not clear whether Foxworth has an attorney who could speak for him.

“Hate-fueled violence has no place in a civilized society,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Thankfully no one was injured by the conduct alleged in this case, but the Justice Department is committed to using all the tools in our law enforcement arsenal to prosecute allegations of hate crimes.”

The Clayton County Police statement last year also said that Foxworth told officers “I can give you a name and we can make this disappear,” the Journal Constitution reported.