JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. (AP) — A white man with a gun fatally shot two African-American customers at a Kroger grocery store and was swiftly arrested as he tried to flee, authorities said Thursday.
An arrest report says Gregory Alan Bush walked into the back of the store outside Louisville, pulled a gun from his waist and shot the man in the back of the head, then kept shooting him multiple times “as he was down on the floor.” Then, Bush re-holstered his gun, walked outside and killed a woman in the parking lot, briefly trading gunfire with another man who tried to intervene, the report says.
Bystander video shows a white man in a distinctive neon-yellow shirt trying to drive away while an officer chases after him on foot. Many more officers converged on the scene and made the arrest on Wednesday afternoon.
Bush, 51, was jailed on $5 million bond Thursday on two counts of murder and 10 counts of felony wanton endangerment.
Jeffersontown Police Chief Sam Rogers said in an initial news conference at the scene that “we have no idea” what motivated the shootings. The FBI later announced that it “is evaluating the evidence to determine if there were any violations of federal law.”
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer shared his outrage Thursday over what he called an “epidemic of gun violence” that “hit close to home.”
The local coroner’s office identified the victims as Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vicki Lee Jones, 67. Stallard is father of Kellie Watson, the mayor’s chief racial equity officer.
“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?” Fischer said at a news conference. “There are ways to make our country safer and still respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners. This idea that it’s all or nothing is a false choice. And Americans are dying every day because of it.”
Eric Deacon, who identified himself as an emergency medical technician, told The Associated Press that he was in the store’s self-checkout lane when he heard the first shot, in the pharmacy area.
He said a man came around the corner and “the look on his face, he looked like he just didn’t care.”
Deacon said he saw another man in the store with a gun who appeared to be shooting at the suspect. Then Deacon went outside and saw a woman in her mid-50s or early 60s who had been hit, and tried to resuscitate her.
“She was gone, there’s nothing I could do,” Deacon said. “I think she just got caught in the crossfire.”
Fischer said he’s “just sick and heartbroken and quite angry. I feel that way about any act of violence and cruelty.”
“It seems like none of these murders and massacres hit close enough for many of the people in the position to do something to prevent some of this madness,” Fischer added.
Louisville has created violence-prevention programs, and has more to do, he said.
“But at the city level, there’s only so much that we can do. Because the hard fact is, that most violent crimes are committed with guns. And guns fall under the jurisdiction of the state and federal governments. And every time someone takes a gun and creates a tragedy, what’s the response from too many of our leaders? The ones that have the power to make our country safer? … They act as if nothing can be done. That doesn’t sound like the United States of America to me.”