Hate crime considered in Kentucky grocery store shooting

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Gregory Alan Bush, a white man who killed two black people at a Kentucky Kroger, tried to gain access to a black church before his supermarket killing spree, The New York Times reports.

In the store, Bush allegedly "pulled a pistol from his waistband and shot [a man] in the rear of the head and again multiple times as he lay on the floor", according to an arrest reported cited by the Courier-Journal.

Investigators have not yet determined whether Bush was allowed to own a gun or how he obtained it, the police chief said. Both victims were African American, and neither was believed to have known the gunman and the specific motive was unclear.

"There was nothing I could do", he said.

An armed bystander exchanged gunfire with the suspect in the lot of the Jeffersontown store before the shooter fled in a vehicle.

Fischer shared his outrage at a news conference Thursday over what he called an "epidemic of gun violence" that "hit close to home".

The first victim, Maurice E. Stallard, 69, was shot while he shopped with his 12-year-old grandson.

The second victim, Vickie Lee Jones, 67, was gunned down in the parking lot. The parents told police in January 2009 that Bush punched his 78-year-old father in the face and grabbed his 74-year-old mother by the neck "and picked her up off the ground".

"Whites don't kill whites", the shooter said in Zinniger's account.

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Local media dug through previous criminal complaints filed by Bush's family members and ex-wife, who told police that he had a history of mental illness, violent incidents and making racist comments.

Bush appeared in court Thursday for arraignment and his bond was set at $5 million, according to court records.

Stallard was the father of Kellie Watson, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's chief racial equity officer. Police wrote in the report that Bush's parents are "terrified of (his) unpredictable behavior".

An arrest record from May 2009 says 51-year-old Gregory Bush was in a family court hearing when he became "irate" and shouted obscenities and threats at his ex-wife.

Police received a call about 3 p.m. reporting the shooting, Rogers said. When deputies tried to subdue him, he fought off attempts to handcuff him and he punched a deputy twice.

Bush was marked as a "suicide risk" on the arrest sheet, which also indicated his ex-wife had an emergency protective order against him.

Authorities said it was too soon to say what prompted the shooting. Then in 2003, Bush was charged with menacing for following a 15-year-old into a movie theater bathroom and putting his hands around her waist. He is being charged with murder and wanton endangerment.

The store was closed and will not reopen until the investigation is complete, the release said.

The police report says an unidentified armed civilian challenged the shooter and that Bush allegedly began firing at Jones in the parking lot. "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".