Update (November 16, 2018): After pleading not guilty to two counts of murder, alleged Kroger shooter Gregory Bush now faces hate crime charges.
According to ABC News, a grand jury handed down six hate crime counts for the 51-year-old: two counts of shooting and killing based on victims' race, one count of attempting to shoot another victim based on race and three firearm counts due to the previous charges.
“The crimes alleged in this indictment are horrific,” said Attorney General Matthew Whitaker in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “We cannot and will not tolerate violence motivated by racism. We will bring the full force of the law against these and any alleged hate crimes against fellow Americans of any race.”
Bush faces murder counts for the deaths of 69-year-old Maurice E. Stallard, shot to death in front of his 12-year-old grandson, and 67-year-old Vickie Lee Jones. Both Stallard and Jones were Black.
Witnesses say Bush tried and failed to gain access to a Black church before visiting the Kroger. He is scheduled to appear in court on January 15. No word on whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
Original: The 51-year-old gunman suspected of targeting Black store-goers at a Kroger in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, pleaded not guilty, prosecutors said on Friday, November 2.
NBC News reports Gregory Alan Bush was indicted by a grand jury this week on two counts of murder, one count of criminal attempted murder and two counts of wanton endangerment.
On October 24, Bush entered the grocery store and opened fire, killing 69-year-old shopper Maurice E. Stallard. Reports state the victim was inside the store with his 12-year-old grandson. Arrest records indicate Bush pulled out his gun and shot Stallard in the head and several other times as he laid dying on the floor. Stallard's grandson made it out alive.
Then, Bush exited the store before killing his second victim, Vickie Lee Jones, 67, in the parking lot.
"It's particularly in times of loss and tragedy that our constitution and our laws are particularly tested," Bush's attorney, Angela Elleman, said. "Mr. Bush, of course, has the right to due process and a fair trial that we all are honored to have."
During the tragic incident, Bush was challenged by legal gun owner Dominiic Rozier, who believed the shooter was targeting his wife, Kiera Rozier, next.
Kiera Rozier recounted: "I heard [Jones] say she's trying to get home. She said 'these people are shooting, they’re crazy, I just want to get home; Lord, let me get home.'" Further detailing, Rozier said, "He [Bush] looked at her, and he kind of grinned, and he just shot her."
According to Reuters, the gunman is held on a $5 million bail bond for the shooting. Prosecutors are pushing for charges related to a possible hate crime due to statements the gunman made.
A bystander, Ed Harrell, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that he had pulled out his handgun when Bush approached him in the parking lot. Bush then said, “Whites don’t kill whites,” Harrell recalled.
Before the store shooting, Bush tried to enter an all-Black church.
Now, check these out:
Dominiic Rozier, Who Confronted Kroger Shooter, Speaks Out On The Tragic Killings
Member of Black Church Narrowly Missed Kentucky Kroger Shooter Because He Was Away From His Desk