A shooting in a Jeffersontown, Kentucky grocery store, which left two people dead, is now under investigation as a potential hate crime. Federal authorities need to determine whether or not federal law has been violated in regard to the victims’ civil rights. Russell Coleman, a U.S. Attorney in Louisville, is concerned these crimes may have been racially motivated.
The shooter, 51-year-old Gregory Bush, and his actions, are under investigation by local authorities and the FBI. He is charged with multiple crimes, including murder, for the shootings at the Jeffersontown Kroger.
According to investigators, before Bush entered the store, he had attempted to gain entry to the Jeffersontown First Baptist Church. The church has a predominately black congregation. Security cameras at the church show Bush attempting to enter approximately 15 minutes before proceeding to the Kroger, according to Chief of Police Sam Rogers.
The arresting officers reported that Bush entered the grocery store. Once inside, Bush opened fire on a shopper, shooting him in the back of the head, then repeatedly shooting him once he had fallen to the floor. Bush then put the gun away and left the story. While in the parking lot, he opened fire again, killing a woman in the parking lot. She, as well, was shot multiple times from short range.
Bush was then confronted by a man in the parking lot who had a concealed weapon. Bush opened fire again, placing everyone in the Kroger lot in danger. Neither Bush, nor the Samaritan were injured in the exchange. Witness video showed Bush trying to flee the parking lot with an on-foot officer giving chase. In moments, multiple officers arrived and converged on Bush, stopping him and making the arrest.
The Samaritan from the parking lot, Ed Harrell, told Louisville’s Courier Journal that he was in the lot waiting for his wife. He heard the shots fired and retrieved his revolver. He watched, crouched by his vehicle, and saw Bush walk by with his gun lowered. Harrell then asked Bush what was happening and Bush said, “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.”
Chief Rogers said that this remark prompted investigators to look more deeply into the motivation behind the shootings. According to investigations, Bush was married to an African-American woman, who had previously sought restraining orders against him due to violent incidents, including Bush casting racial disparagements on her.
Bush has a previous criminal history that includes threats to his ex-wife, assaulting a deputy sheriff while in a family court proceeding, and assaulting his own parents in 2009. He was ordered to seek treatment for mental health issues, and was also prohibited from owning any firearms for a period of two years. During a 2009 domestic violence case against Bush, his ex-wife says he was diagnosed with paranoia in 2003, but had ceased using medication.
The victims in the shooting were 69-year-old Maurice Stallard and 67-year-old Vicki Lee Jones. No causal links have been made between the victims and Bush or with the grocery store. Bush is currently being held with a $5 million bond and charged with ten felony wanton endangerment charges and two murder charges.