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Monday, November 19, 2018

Man Who Killed Two African Americans In Kroger Charged With Hate Crimes

Gregory Alan Bush, a white man who shot at two Black people

Gregory Alan Bush, a white man who shot at two Black people

Jeffersontown, KY — Gregory Alan Bush, a white man accused of fatally shooting two Black shoppers at a Kroger grocery store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky last month, has been officially charged with multiple hate crimes and firearm charges by a federal grand jury.

Bush, who is 51 years old, is charged with hate crimes after “shooting and killing two victims because of their race and color; and for shooting at a third man because of his race and color,” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman in the Western District of Kentucky.

Moreover, Bush is charged with using and discharging a firearm during the commission of and in relation to the previously noted crimes of violence. The indictment also alleges Bush committed the killings “after substantial planning and premeditation.”

Investigators said Bush started the shooting spree inside Kroger on October 24. His first victim was 69-year-old Maurice Stallard, who was inside the grocery. He walked up behind him and shot him in the back of the head before shooting him several more times. He then went outside and fatally shot Vickie Lee Jones, who is 67 years old, in the parking lot.

A white man who was in the same parking lot at that time told reporters that Bush walked past him and told him, “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.”

Surveillance video later showed that minutes before going to Kroger, Bush was trying to enter the First Baptist Church — a predominantly Black church — but the doors were locked so he wasn’t able to enter. That’s when he drove to Kroger and walked by numerous white shoppers before shooting victims due to their “actual or perceived race and color,” the indictment said.

“There is no place, no place, for hate-fueled violence in this community and no place in this commonwealth. Federal, state, and local law enforcement stand united to ensure that Kentuckians can shop, worship, or attend school without the specter of fear,” Coleman said in a statement.

Bush was initially charged by a state prosecutor for two counts of murder and 10 counts of wanton endangerment where he pleaded not guilty on November 2.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker called Bush’s crimes “horrific.” He said in a statement, “We cannot and will not tolerate violence motivated by racism. We will bring the full force of the law against these and any other alleged hate crimes against fellow Americans of any race.”

The maximum penalties Bush face if convicted are life imprisonment without parole and even the death penalty. However, the Justice Department is yet to determine whether or not to seek the death penalty at a later date.