Gregory Bush Pleads Guilty To Federal Hate Crimes In 2018 Kroger Shooting

Gregory Alan Bush pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes on Thursday for shooting and killing two Black people at a Kroger grocery store in Kentucky in 2018, and attempting to murder a third.

The 53-year-old white Louisville resident previously pleaded guilty but mentally ill to state charges for murder, attempted murder and wanton endangerment, and was sentenced to a life term in state prison.

Bush admitted in his plea hearing Thursday to having shot and killed Maurice Stallard, a 69-year-old Black man, at close range on Oct. 24, 2018. Stallard was shopping with his grandson in the store.

After Bush’s first encounter, he exited the store and walked up to a Black woman in the parking lot, shooting and killing 67-year-old Vickie Lee Jones.

Bush said he had no prior relationship with either individual and targeted both victims because of their perceived race.

He attempted to murder a third individual ― a Black man armed with a legal handgun who exchanged gunfire with Bush in the parking lot ― but was unsuccessful.

Gregory Bush is arraigned on two counts of murder and 10 counts of wanton endangerment in Louisville, Kentucky, in this Oct. 25, 2018, file photo.

After his third encounter, another armed man, who was white, confronted Bush in the parking lot. Bush responded, “Don’t shoot me [and] I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites,” according to authorities.

Bush attempted to enter a predominantly Black church in the area that day before he drove to the Kroger, but was unable to gain entry, police said at the time.

“Today’s guilty plea will ensure that a violent and disturbed man will never get another chance to target and terrorize the Black community,” Pamela S. Karlan, the principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

“It won’t bring back two pillars of the Louisville community, whose tragic and senseless deaths we mourn, but we hope it sends the message that the Justice Department will work tirelessly to bring perpetrators of bias-motivated violence to justice,” Karlan said.

Bush is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court this June, where he faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without parole. 

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