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White man who allegedly said "whites don't kill whites" during Kroger shooting is charged with a hate crime

Police said the shooter targeted the supermarket after he was unable to enter a church known for its black congregation.

by Tess Owen
Nov 16 2018, 4:14pm

The white man accused of stating that "whites don't kill whites" moments after he allegedly murdered a black man and a black woman at a Kroger supermarket in Kentucky last month is now facing federal hate crime charges.

On Thursday, a grand jury returned a six-count indictment against the alleged gunman, 51-year-old Gregory Bush, charging him with three federal hate crimes and three federal firearms offenses. Federal prosecutors have not ruled out the possibility of seeking the death penalty against Bush if he is convicted on those charges.

According to the indictment, on October 24 around 3 p.m., Bush entered the Kroger supermarket in Jeffersontown armed with a .40 caliber pistol, and began indiscriminately shooting inside the store and outside with the specific goal of killing people of color. Prosecutors say he killed Maurice Stallard, 69, inside the store, and Vickie Jones, 69, just by the entrance.

“The crimes alleged in this indictment are horrific," Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker 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 Kroger supermarket shooting, which happened on a Wednesday, came during a particularly violent and hate-filled week in America. News of the shooting was overshadowed by a days-long serial bombing campaign allegedly perpetrated by a hardcore Trump fanatic who targeted more than a dozen of the president’s biggest critics. And the following Saturday, a man who regularly expressed violently anti-Semitic views online opened fire on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people.

Still, the shooting received national attention in the aftermath of the tense week — and after law enforcement said that Bush, before opening fire in the supermarket, had unsuccessfully tried to enter the First Baptist Church, a black congregation, during its midweek service. Police said that they saw him on surveillance video trying to enter the church for 10 minutes, before giving up and driving to Kroger.

The day after the shooting, Bush was arraigned on two counts of murder and 10 counts of wanton endangerment. Details of his criminal history trickled out in the days following, including information that he’d been previously convicted of domestic assault, and was known to make racist comments, including to his black ex-wife.

Cover image: The Kroger Marketplace in Louisville, Ky., where Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones were shot and killed in a possible hate crime late last month. (Photo by William DeShazer for The Washington Post via Getty Images)