Feds: Jonesboro man who opened fire on 2 gas stations charged with hate crime

Larry Foxworth, 48, of Jonesboro, was indicted by a federal grand jury on hate crime charges.

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Larry Foxworth, 48, of Jonesboro, was indicted by a federal grand jury on hate crime charges.

Police say suspect admitted targeting victims because of race

A Clayton County man who was arrested last July after police said he fired multiple gunshots at two gas stations is now facing federal hate crime charges.

Larry Edward Foxworth, 48, of Jonesboro, was arrested on 10 counts related to the shootings in July 2021, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. At the time, Clayton police said Foxworth told officers, “This is a hate crime and this is a targeted hit.”

No one was injured in either shooting.

Now, Foxworth has been charged with committing a federal hate crime and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, according to U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Ryan K. Buchanan. A federal grand jury handed down the indictment Tuesday, and the FBI has joined Clayton police in their investigation.

ExploreCops: Clayton man arrested after shooting at 2 gas stations

According to Clayton police, Foxworth was arrested in the early morning hours of July 30, 2021. Officers were called to the 6000 block of Tara Boulevard following reports of gunshots and criminal damage to property. When officers arrived, they heard another gunshot nearby on Mt. Zion Road, police said.

Multiple officers then went to the second location, police said. There, they saw a 2016 Ford Fusion weaving in the road. The officers performed a traffic stop and made contact with Foxworth. During the stop, officers saw an open container and a bag of ammunition, including spent shell casings that were easily visible in the car, the news release said.

As Foxworth was taken into custody, he said, “I can give you a name and we can make this disappear,” according to Clayton police. Foxworth followed that statement with his line about the hate crime and targeted hit.

Clayton police said that during interviews after Foxworth’s arrest, he admitted to shooting at both locations because he did not like the race of the people working there. Foxworth also told detectives he shot at the second location by mistake, according to police.

Neither local nor federal officials have said what race or minority group Foxworth was allegedly targeting.

Federal hate crimes are notoriously difficult to prosecute, as demonstrated by the U.S. Justice Department’s decision not to pursue hate crime charges against Robert Aaron Long, the convicted murderer who killed eight people at Asian spas in Cherokee and Fulton counties. Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis has continued to pursue state hate crime charges, along with the death penalty. Long is already assured of spending the rest of his life in prison after striking a plea deal in Cherokee that resulted in four consecutive life sentences plus 35 years.

Foxworth’s indictment marks the first time hate crime charges have been filed in the Northern District of Georgia in eight years, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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Foxworth’s two-count indictment was handed down just a few days after a white 18-year-old from New York went on a shooting spree at a grocery store in a majority Black neighborhood in Buffalo. The suspect, who was arrested at the scene and allegedly posted a racist 180-page note online before the attack, is accused of shooting 13 people, killing 10 of them. Eleven of the 13 victims were Black.

Though the timing of Foxworth’s indictment in Georgia was coincidental, Buchanan’s carefully worded statement nodded to the tragedy in Buffalo.

“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.