2 die in gro­cery story shoot­ing; race might have played a role

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS - By Dy­lan Lo­van KEN­TUCKY

JEFFERSONTOWN, KY. » A white­man with a his­tory of vi­o­lence fa­tally shot two black cus­tomers at a Kroger gro­cery store and was swiftly ar­rested as he tried to flee, po­lice said Thurs­day. They said it was too soon to say what prompted the shoot­ing.

News out­lets have re­ported that the sus­pect made a racial com­ment to a man he en­coun­tered on his way out of the store af­ter the shoot­ing Wed­nes­day. But when asked if the at­tack may have been racial­ly­mo­ti­vated, Jeffersontown Po­lice Chief Sam Rogers re­sponded, “I can’t spec­u­late on mo­tive at this time. ... We are pur­su­ing all av­enues of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion no mat­ter where that takes us or what it in­volves.”

At a news con­fer­ence Thurs­day, Rogers did say sur­veil­lance video shows the sus­pect tried un­suc­cess­fully to en­ter the First Bap­tist church in Jeffersontown be­fore he went to the Kroger. The church is headed by a black pas­tor and has a large African-Amer­i­can mem­ber­ship.

The FBI an­nounced that it “is eval­u­at­ing the ev­i­dence to de­ter­mine if there were any vi­o­la­tions of fed­eral law.”

Rogers also said the sus­pect, 51-yearold Gre­gory Alan Bush, ap­par­ently does have a his­tory of men­tal ill­ness as news out­lets have re­ported.

An ar­rest re­port says Bush walked into the store out­side Louisville, pulled a gun from his waist and shot aman in the back of the head, then kept shoot­ing him mul­ti­ple times “as he was down on the floor.” The re­port says Bush then re­hol­stered his gun, walked out­side and killed a wo­man in the park­ing lot.

A man car­ry­ing a con­cealed weapon who hap­pened to be in the park­ing lot chal­lenged Bush, and po­lice say the sus­pect then “be­gan fir­ing wildly” at him, putting other shop­pers in the park­ing lot in dan­ger. Nei­ther man was hurt in that con­fronta­tion, Rogers said.

By­s­tander video shows a white man in a dis­tinc­tive neon-yel­low shirt try­ing to drive away while an of­fi­cer chases af­ter hi­mon foot. Many more of­fi­cers con­verged on the scene and made the ar­rest just a few hun­dred yards from the store on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

Bush, 51, was jailed on $5 mil­lion bond Thurs­day on two counts of mur­der and 10 counts of felony wan­ton en­dan­ger­ment.

Ed Har­rell was quoted by the Courier Jour­nal of Louisville as say­ing he was wait­ing on his wife in the park­ing lot when he heard gun­shots and grabbed his re­volver. As he crouched down, he said he saw the gun­man walk “non­cha­lantly” by with a gun by his side. Har­rell said he called out to ask what was go­ing on, and the gun­man replied: “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.”

At Thurs­day’s news con­fer­ence, Rogers said po­lice “are aware of that state­ment and are eval­u­at­ing any fac­tors that that may come into play with” it.

The lo­cal coro­ner’s of­fice iden­ti­fied the vic­tims as Mau­rice Stal­lard, 69, and Vicki Lee Jones, 67. Po­lice said there didn’t ap­pear to be any con­nec­tion be­tween Bush and the vic­tims, or any link be­tween Bush and the Kroger store.

Stal­lard’s 12-year- old grand­son was shop­ping with him in the store when he was gunned down, Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf said Thurs­day. The boy was phys­i­cally un­harmed, but most cer­tainly trau­ma­tized, the mayor said, adding, “He was there and can­not un­see what he has seen.”

TI­MOTHY D. EASLEY — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A Kroger em­ployee wipes away tears fol­low­ing a shoot­ing that left two peo­ple dead, and the sub­ject in cus­tody Wed­nes­day in Jeffersontown, Ken­tucky.

Bush

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