A shooting at a suburban Louisville, Ky., Krogers store was apparently racially motivated, according to what one witness said.
The Louisville Courier-Journal, reported the shooting on Wednesday that claimed two lives inside the store and in its parking lot. Both victims were African American, and neither was believed to have known the gunman and the specific motive was unclear.
Jeffersontown Police Chief Sam Rogers said in an initial news conference at the scene that “we have no idea” what motivated the shootings, according to the Associated Press.
The two victims, identified by police as Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Lee Jones, 67, were at the store when Gregory Bush, 51, allegedly opened fire inside, striking Stallard in the back of the head then firing at him multiple times while he lay on the floor, according to an arrest record.
He then reholstered his firearm and proceeded to the parking lot where he shot and killed Jones. A witness, Eric Deacon, who is also an EMT and said he tried to help the victim lying in the parking lot. But when he got to the woman, “she was gone,” he said. “There was nothing I could do.”
Yesterday afternoon in Louisville, a man entered a Kroger and shot Maurice Stallard (below), father of the city’s racial equity officer. As the murderer fled the scene, he told an armed bystander in the parking lot: “Whites don’t shoot whites.” pic.twitter.com/X0eaKNcjh9
— Matt Smethurst (@MattSmethurst) October 25, 2018
Another person who had a concealed carry permit confronted Bush and the two began an exchange of gunfire, police said. Neither man was struck.
According to the Courier-Journal, Bush passed by Ed Harrell who was waiting in the parking lot for his wife. When he saw the commotion, he grabbed his own revolver, then came across Bush and asked him what was happening. Bush, who had his gun drawn and was holding it by his side told him: “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.”
RIP to the other victim from yesterday’s Kroger shooting. Vickie Jones ???♥️ pic.twitter.com/nzH1r1NwJi
— Teaira (@TeairaKiona) October 25, 2018
Bush soon got into a vehicle and drove off only to be arrested soon after not far from the store. He was being held in police custody Thursday and charged with two counts of murder and 10 counts of wanton endangerment, the Courier-Journal said.
ALERT: Here is the mug shot of the alleged suspect Gregory Alan Bush from the @JeffersontownKY @kroger shooting incident from 10-24-18. He is facing 2 counts of murder and 10 counts of wanton endangerment. Other charges could be pending. He does have a criminal history. pic.twitter.com/Gc3vwrADuQ
— Aaron Ellis (@aaronellis01) October 25, 2018
He has a long and violent criminal history, according to reports, including a 2001 protective order taken out against him by his then-wife Sheryl; a 2009 assault charge against his ex-wife in Family Court; that same year he had several charges against him connected to violently attacking his parents.
The Wednesday incident also had an indirect connection to Louisville City Hall and affected one of its staffers.
One of the two victims, Stallard, who was shopping with his 12-year-old grandson was the father of Kellie Watson, who serves as chief racial equity officer in the administration of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. However, it was unclear if the attack had anything to do with her position, or if the victims were specifically targeted because they were black.
Fischer shared his outrage at a news conference Thursday over what he called an “epidemic of gun violence” that “hit close to home.”
“Somehow, a few have become so beholden to politics that they place a higher value on that than on the lives of our fellow Americans,” said Fischer, a Democrat running for re-election.
“People getting shot at a grocery store, a school, outside a church. Can’t we all agree that that is unacceptable?”