On Thursday, the man accused of fatally shooting two Black shoppers in a Kentucky Kroger store on October 24, was charged with a hate crime. The decision was made by a federal grand jury in Louisville, and includes five additional charges, some of which are firearm related.
The six-count indictment against Gregory Bush, 51, comes with a possible death sentence. When arraigned, the suspected killer plead “not guilty.” As reported by NBC News, his counsel Angela Elleman said at the time, “Mr. Bush of course has the right to due process and a fair trial that we all are honored to have.”
Video and eyewitnesses of the crime paint the picture of a racist on a rampage the day he shot and killed two elderly shoppers. Surveillance shows Bush walking into the Kroger store, walking past several white customers and then coming up on Maurice Stallard, 69, who he shot in the back of the head. Outside he met Vickie Lee Jones, 67, who he also shot.
Prior to taking is two victims, surveillance video shows that Bush went to a Black church just 15 miles east of the crime scene, and tried to make his way in. His actions were likely a failed effort at carrying out a mass church shooting, much like the one enacted by Dylann Roof in Charleston, South Carolina.
Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker said in a statement announcing the federal charges, “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.”
Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, there has been a 17 percent increase in reported hate crimes.