A Buffalo man was arrested after he threatened to “shoot up” a local pizzeria “like the Tops” supermarket one day after a gunman killed ten at the store in a hate-fueled massacre, prosecutors and reports said.
Joseph Chowaniec, 52, called up Bocce Pizza around noon on Sunday and threatened to “shoot up Bocce’s like the Tops on Jefferson” – a reference to the Tops Friendly Market – while griping about a pizza order from earlier in the week, according to prosecutors and WIVB.
The pizza shop closed for the day after receiving the threat, prosecutors said.
About forty minutes later, Chowaniec rang Southern Tier Brewing Company and made additional threats referencing the supermarket shooting, prosecutors said.
When cops caught up to Chowaniec later on Sunday, he was found on a street corner holding a sign that read, “Uncle Sam dismantle white supremacy.”
He was taken into custody and charged with one count of making a terroristic threat, prosecutors said.
During his arraignment Monday morning, he was held without bail pending the results of a forensic examination.
“This defendant is accused of making threatening phone calls to businesses and referencing this horrific shooting as the entire City of Buffalo is grieving this tragedy,” said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.
“This crime will not be tolerated – especially as we are actively investigating the Jefferson Avenue shooting as a domestic terrorism incident. Any threat will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”