Killing of Two Black People at Kentucky Store Warrants Hate Crime Investigation

Vickie Lee Jones (left) and Maurice Stallard (right) were gunned down by a suspected racist in a Kentucky grocery store October 24.

Vickie Lee Jones (left) and Maurice Stallard (right) were gunned down by a suspected racist in a Kentucky grocery store October 24.

By Malcolm Speaks

A white man that shot and killed two Black people at a Kroger supermarket in Kentucky last Wednesday, first tried to enter a predominantly African-American church, police reported.

Gregory Bush, 51, was charged for the murder of Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Lee Jones, 67, at a supermarket in Jeffersontown, Ky., a suburb of Louisville.

Federal investigators are looking into the fatal shootings as “potential civil rights violations such as hate crimes,” Russell Coleman, the U.S. attorney for the Western district of Kentucky, said in a statement.

Bush allegedly walked into the Kroger, pulled a gun and shot Stallard in the back of the head, then shot him several more times, killing him. Next, he walked outside, shot and killed Jones, who also died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to The Associated Press. Mr. Stallard’s grandson witnessed his murder and went running out of the store screaming for help, according to CNN.

Louisville resident Ed Harrell reported to the Courier-Journal that as he crouched in the Kroger parking lot clutching his own revolver, the gunman walked by him and said, “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.”

Police also reported that just a few minutes before going to the Kroger, Bush attempted to enter the First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown, a predominantly African-American church. Jeffersontown police chief Sam Rogers told reporters that surveillance video showed Bush yanking on the church doors. If Bush had come to the church an hour earlier that day, some 70 people would have been gathered there, and the door might have been unlocked, according to the Courier-Journal.

 

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called for the death penalty if Bush is convicted when he spoke at the Federalist Society of Kentucky. “If these are not hate crimes, I don’t know what a hate crime is,” he said, according to Politico.

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