A Jonesboro man who proclaimed “this is a hate crime” after he fired into two Clayton County convenience stores in 2021 was sentenced to 20 years in prison, officials announced Thursday.
While no one was injured in the brazen shooting, Larry Edward Foxworth wanted to “kill those inside based upon their race and ethnicity,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The 48-year-old had pleaded guilty in December to a federal hate crime and use of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
His prison sentence will be followed by five years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $1,000.
“Foxworth used a firearm to commit a heinous hate crime that traumatized his victims as well as the communities who rely on these businesses,” said Ryan K. Buchanan, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. “The vigorous prosecution of such abhorrent acts of violence and intimidation with the assistance of our federal partners is a top priority for this office.”
Foxworth was arrested the morning of July 30, 2021, as police investigated reports of gunshots and criminal damage to property in the 6000 block of Tara Boulevard.
He first fired a Glock pistol through a window and door of a gas station, Buchanan said. While officers were working that scene, they heard another gunshot on nearby Mt. Zion Road. There, Foxworth again fired multiple rounds through the window of a store. Both stores were occupied at the time of the shootings, federal prosecutors said in a news release.
At the second location, officers saw a 2016 Ford Fusion weaving in the road, performed a traffic stop and made contact with Foxworth, police said at the time. During the stop, officers saw an open container and a bag of ammunition, including spent shell casings that were easily visible in the car, authorities said.
Clayton police said Foxworth told officers, “This is a hate crime and this is a targeted hit.”
During interviews, authorities said Foxworth admitted to shooting at both locations because he did not like the race of the people working there. He said he was targeting African Americans and others whom he perceived to be Arab.
“No one should have to live in fear of being targeted for deadly violence because they are Black or Arab American,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who works in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This defendant, who professed support for a white supremacist organization, is being held accountable for an abhorrent act of violence motivated by race and national origin.”
The indictment in May 2022 marked the first time hate crime charges had been filed in the Northern District of Georgia in eight years, according to a spokesperson. The FBI and Clayton County police investigated the case.
“Hopefully this lengthy sentence proves that the FBI will not tolerate intimidation and violence against anyone because of their race or ethnicity,” said Keri Farley, special agent for FBI Atlanta. “The FBI’s Civil Rights Program will continue to use every resource available to ensure criminals, like Foxworth, that commit bias-motivated violent crimes are held accountable and removed from our streets.”
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Credit: Miguel Martinez & Seth Wenig