Accused Kentucky Kroger Shooter Indicted On Hate Crime Charges

JEFFERSONTOWN, KY — A man accused of opening fire in a Kentucky Kroger and killing two black shoppers has been indicted by a federal grand jury on hate crime and firearm charges, according to the Department of Justice.

The victims in the Oct. 24 shooting were identified as Vicki Jones, 67 and Maurice Stallard, 69. The accused, 51-year-old Gregory Smith, allegedly told an armed bystander at the shooting scene that “whites don’t kill whites,” Wave 3 News reported at the time.

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Federal officials called the killing of Jones and Stallard “racially motivated murder.” Bush was also charged in relation to the attempted murder of a third black patron at the store. He was also indicted on three firearms charges.

The indictment alleges that Bush committed the killings “after substantial planning and premeditation.” Bush could face life in prison or the death penalty. The Department of Justice will determine whether to seek the death penalty at a later date, officials said.

“The crimes alleged in this indictment are horrific,” Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in a statement.

“We cannot and will not tolerate violence motivated by racism. We will bring the full force of the law against these and any other alleged hate crimes against fellow Americans of any race. And so I want to thank the FBI, Trial Attorney Christopher Perras, and Assistant United States Attorney Amanda Gregory for all of their hard work that has made this indictment possible. Today we take one step closer to justice for the victims and their families and one step closer to helping this community try to heal.”

Police said Bush walked into a Kroger grocery store with a .40-caliber handgun on Oct. 24 and shot one person, and then killed another in the parking lot before exchanging fire with an armed man before fleeing. Bush has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in state court, and is being held on a $5 million cash bond.

Bush had stopped at a historically black church in suburban Louisville before heading to the supermarket, where Stallard and Jones were shot at close range. Bush was seen on surveillance video trying to enter the church, but the door was locked and he left.

Reporting from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Photo by David R. Lutman /Courier Journal via Associated Press, Pool

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