In July 2021, Larry Edward Foxworth, a white man, is alleged to have repeatedly shot at two Jonesboro, Georgia stores with the intent to kill employees and customers inside.
The hate crime charges publicized on Thursday (May 19) claim Foxworth's shooting was racially-charged. The stores said to have been targetted by Foxworth are located in Clayton County, where Black people make up almost 73 percent of the population, the U.S. Census Bureau reports.
U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan announced that the alleged shooter would be charged with two counts of committing a federal hate crime and discharging a firearm to commit a violent crime. Foxworth hasn't entered a plea for the charges.
“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,” Buchanan said in a statement.
The Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crime Prevention Act makes it a federal crime to attempt to or cause injury on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin.
Attorney Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said, “Hate-fueled violence has no place in a civilized society." Clark added, “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 Department is continuing to investigate the case in partnership with the FBI.
This follows Buffalo's mass shooting where 10 people were killed in a racially-motivated attack, officials say.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.