Kroger Shooting: Accused shooter tried to get into Baptist church minutes before attack
First Baptist Church on Watterson Trail has predominantly black congregation
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The man accused of killing two people at a busy grocery store was seen on surveillance video trying to get into a predominantly black church a short time before he unleashed his attack.
Gregory Bush, 51, was arrested minutes after the shooting Wednesday at the Kroger store in Jeffersontown.
Jeffersontown Police Chief Sam Rogers said at a news conference Thursday that Bush was seen on video trying to break into the First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown about two miles away.
“He was unsuccessful in gaining access to the church,” Rogers said. “I do not know the correlation, but it was just 10-15 minutes before the shooting.”
Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf also spoke at the news conference, insisting the city will heal together.
“We will start tomorrow, a new day,” he said. “We are not sitting here pointing fingers at any point. We’re healing as a community, not as an individual.”
On Thursday evening, the Louisville Urban League posted the following statement to Facebook, asking for the shooting to be treated as a hate crime investigation:
"We believe it is happening but want to take nothing for granted. We are calling for an investigation into the murders in Jeffersontown last night. Because of the FB posts of the alleged perpetrator and the comments he made to a man in the parking lot of the grocery store, we thought it necessary to clearly state our desire and support for a hate crime investigation.
We recognize that the alleged perpetrator may have had a mental inquest warrant filed previously, however his FB posts, his comments and his visit to First Baptist Jeffersontown lead us to express our concern.
We have faith that law enforcement is and will continue to work diligently."
Earlier Thursday, Bush was ordered to be held on $5 million bond at his arraignment.
A public defender representing Bush asked for a bond reduction, but that was denied. Less than 24 hours after Bush allegedly shot his victims at the Kroger store in Jeffersontown, the judge ruled Bush a danger to the community.
“I believe you to be a danger,” the judge said. “You are to possess no firearms, to have no contact with any of the alleged victims' families, and (have) no contact with the place of violation including any Kroger.”
Bush, who turned 51 three weeks ago, is charged with two counts of murder and 10 counts of wanton endangerment.
Below is a recap of the narrative of his arrest report:
Arrested subject entered the Kroger store at 9080 Taylorsville Rd, walked toward the rear of the store and for reasons unknown at this time as relayed by witnesses to the event and video, the arrested subject pulled a pistol from his waistband and shot victim #1 in the rear of the head and again multiple times as he was down on the floor, causing death. Arrested subject then exited the Kroger store being observed by witnesses re-holstering his weapon until he exited. Witnesses and video show the arrested subject draw his pistol again once outside in the parking lot and shoot victim #2 several times causing her death. Arrested subject then came into contact with a civilian, carry concealed pistol (CCDW) holder, who challenged the arrested subject, who then began firing wildly at the civilian throughout the parking lot endangering several pedestrian shoppers.
The victims were identified Thursday as Maurice Stallard, 69, of Louisville, and Vickie Lee Jones, 67, also of Louisville. Stallard was the father of the city’s Chief Equity Officer, Kellie Watson.
Shortly after the mayhem ended and the Kroger parking lot was secured Wednesday, a witness told WAVE 3 News that his father had a brief verbal exchange with the shooter, who at one point told the man’s father that “whites don’t kill whites.”
Stallard and Jones both were black.
An unverified Facebook page attributed to a Gregory Bush in Louisville indicates he has struggled with mental illness, particularly schizophrenia, which he wrote was severe enough to put him on medical disability. The page also says he is a graduate of Fern Creek High School.
Bush is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 5.
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