On Thursday, November 15, the white supremacist who killed two Black people at a Kroger grocery store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky was charged with a hate crime. The victims were 69-year-old Maurice Stallard and 67-year-old Vickie Lee Jones.
The 51-year-old was “indicted on hate crime charges causing deaths that could bring a sentence of life without parole or the death penalty, if that is approved by the attorney general,” according to Courier-Journal.
U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman said at a news conference, “There is no place for hate-fueled violence in our community or commonwealth. Federal, state, and local law enforcement stand united to ensure that Kentuckians can shop, worship, or attend school without the specter of fear.”
Courier-Journal also reports, “Bush also was charged with an additional hate crime for attempting to kill Dominic Rozier, an African American who had a concealed carry permit and exchanged gunfire with Bush outside the store. The other counts were for violations of federal firearms laws. The grand jury also found the crime was intentional and premeditated, as well as other ‘special circumstances’ that would allow the pursuit of the death penalty, if approved by the attorney general.”
On October 24, Bush attempted but failed to enter the First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown. He then went to a nearby Kroger where he shot and killed Stallard and Jones, apparently randomly. An eyewitness said while he waited for his wife in the parking lot, he heard gunshots and grabbed his revolver. He saw Bush, though he didn’t know at the time he was the gunman. He says Bush told him, “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.”
Bush was taken into custody shortly after he fled the scene.
Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones.