The man arrested and charged with shooting and killing two individuals at a Kroger in Jeffersontown has been identified as Gregory Alan Bush, who is from Louisville and 51 years old.
According to the Jeffersontown Police Department, Bush walked into the Kroger Wednesday afternoon and shot the first victim in the back of the head, a man who was shopping with his grandson, and then shot a woman to death in the parking lot.
Bush later exchanged fired with a citizen in the parking lot, who told WAVE-3 News that Bush told his father that “whites don’t shoot whites.”
The victims were African Americans, identified Thursday morning 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 Greg Fischer, tasked with improving racial equity within city government’s policies and practices.
Bush is in the custody of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections with a $5 million bond, charged with two counts of murder and 10 counts of first degree wanton endangerment.
A Facebook and Twitter account that appear to belong to Bush — dating back many years and identically matching his appearance and name — hint at both mental illness and racially charged viewpoints.
The “about” section of the Facebook page states that “I have worked most of my life and battled mental illness throughout my life. My paranoid-schizophrenia finally stopped me from working and now am on mental disability. I’m lucky I made it this far with all the trouble I’ve caused myself when I get off my medicine.”
A post from the Twitter account in June also suggests the possibility of recent mental health issues, which reads: “The reports of my death are highly exaggerated, I’m a UK fan in Louisville who they want dead.They high jack my frequency and tell lies about me.”
Jason Riley of WDRB reported Thursday morning that a mental inquest warrant was taken out against Bush during his 2009 conviction of domestic assault case, in which he was ordered to take medication and taken to Central State Hospital. He also found records in other previous domestic assault convictions in which Bush was accused of using racial slurs against his victims, including repeatedly calling his ex-wife a “n****** bitch.”
These felony convictions would prohibit Bush from legally possessing a gun, but police have not yet revealed how he obtained the weapon.
Though no social media posts have been found in which he spoke of or endorsed violence against African-Americans, the accounts did share views criticizing former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest racial injustice in the country, as well as the media for allegedly not covering a mass shooting committed by a Sudanese immigrant. The account also shared a petition to Gov. Matt Bevin urging him to prevent the removal of statues of confederate soldiers.
In a news conference Thursday morning, Mayor Fischer stated that he would not speculate on the motives of Bush and wait for law enforcement to collect the facts, but said that Louisville is “a proudly diverse and welcoming city, and we have one shared future. Our city and our future have no room for anyone who looks at their fellow human beings with hate or discrimination.”
“There may be questions about mental illness, and there can be no doubt that we must do whatever is needed to get people all of the health care that they need,” said Fischer. “But today, I’m just sick and heartbroken and quite angry. I feel that way about any act of violence and cruelty.”
Fischer noted that this tragedy is especially painful and close to home, with Watson’s father being one of the victims, urging that the media respect the families’ privacy.
The mayor also took the opportunity to call upon state and federal leaders to have the courage to pass gun safety legislation that could help prevent the now-common tragedy of mass murders.
“Every time someone takes a gun and creates a tragedy, what’s the response?” asked Fischer. “From too many of our leaders, the ones who have the power to make our country safer, our city safer, our schools and churches and groceries safer, they act as if nothing can be done. That doesn’t sound like the United States of America to me — the most powerful, most resourceful country in the world. Why do we pretend that we’re helpless?”
The Jeffersontown Police Department issued a statement Thursday afternoon indicating that it is working in concert with the Louisville Metro Police Department, FBI and ATF to investigate the double murder and “determine any possible motive behind the suspect’s actions.”
A spokesman for the Louisville office of the FBI issued a statement last night indicating that it is assisting the local police department and “evaluating the evidence to determine if there were any violations of federal law.” A spokesman did not answer a question asking if the murder is being investigated as a federal hate crime.
This story will be updated.