At a news conference Monday sponsored by the Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition, Mayor Greg Fischer called for a stronger state hate crime law and tightening gun laws related to domestic violence cases.
“Last week we had horrific hate crimes in our community, as well as at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and we’re still reeling from it and grieving,” Fischer said.
The mayor promised to work to change the state’s current hate crime law, saying in part: “I will be working with members of the state legislature and Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine to change our state hate crimes law to make it more meaningful and strengthen the penalties for horrific crimes, such as homicides, which currently are not covered.”
The Rev. David Snardon, president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition, speaking on behalf of more than a dozen faith leaders, said Monday that the two people gunned down at the Jeffersontown Kroger last week were the victims of a hate crime.
The victims were African-Americans, identified as Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vicki Lee Jones, 67, both of whom lived in Louisville. Stallard was the father of Kellie Watson, the chief equity officer for the administration of Mayor Fischer, tasked with improving racial equity within city government’s policies and practices. The man arrested and charged has been identified as Gregory Alan Bush, who is from Louisville and 51 years old.
Investigators said only minutes before the shooting, Bush tried unsuccessfully to get into First Baptist of Jeffersontown — a predominantly black church.
On the steps of the church Monday, Snardon demanded justice for the victims and stronger laws. “No matter what the legalities of it are, hate caused this damage in our community and we will not stand for it,” he said.
A Moment of Unity has been planned for Wednesday, with more details expected to be announced Tuesday.
Bush remains at Louisville Metro Department of Corrections on a $5 million bond, charged with two counts of murder and 10 counts of first degree wanton endangerment.. He is expected to appear before a judge next week.