A 51-year-old man with a history of domestic violence arrests and using racist slurs has been identified as the suspect accused of randomly shooting and killing two people at a Kroger supermarket Wednesday in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, near Louisville. Gregory Bush was taken into custody by police near the scene of the shooting after fleeing in his car when he was confronted by another man with a gun. The man who confronted him said Bush did not shoot him because they are both white. Both of the victims are black, but police have not determined if they were targeted because of their race.
Jeffersontown Police Chief Sam Rogers said a motive for the shooting is not yet known. “At this point, we’re looking into all factors related to this shooting,” he told reporters. Bush has been charged with two counts of murder and 10 counts of wanton endangerment and remains in custody. Police said they have spoken to more than 100 witnesses. Bush was seen trying to get into the First Baptist of Jeffersontown church before going to the Kroger, but was not able to get in, police said. It is not clear why he went to the predominantly black church.
One of the victims has been identified as 69-year-old Maurice Stallard, a retired GE Capital employee whose daughter works in the Louisville mayor’s office. The other victim was identified as Vickie Lee Jones, 67.
The shooting happened about 2:50 p.m. at the Kroger store at 9080 Taylorsville Road on the outskirts of Louisville. Kroger said in a statement that the company was “shocked and saddened” by the shooting, adding, “We are cooperating with law enforcement and assisting with their investigation. Our store is closed and will reopen after the investigation concludes.” The grocery store chain thanked law enforcement for its “quick response.”
Here’s what you need to know about Gregory Bush and the shooting:
1. The First Victim Was Shot in the Back & Killed While Shopping for Poster Board With His Grandson & the Second Victim Was Shot While She Was in the Store’s Parking Lot
The first victim has been identified as Maurice Stallard, the Louisville Courier Journal reports. Police say they believe he was shot at random. According to the Courier Journal, Stallard was shopping for poster board with his grandson when he was shot from behind. His 12-year-old grandson escaped from the store and used a stranger’s cell phone to call his mother, according to the newspaper.
Stallard is the father of Kellie Watson, who has worked for several years in the Louisville mayor’s office, including currently as chief racial equality officer, the Courier Journal reports. He was 69 and was retired from his job at GE Capital in Louisville, according to his Linkedin profile.
According to the arrest reported obtained by the Courier Journal, Gregory Bush, “pulled a pistol from his waistband and shot [a man] in the rear of the head and again multiple times as he lay on the floor.”
Andrew Butler, who witnessed the shooting, told WDRB-TV, “I was in the vitamin aisle, and … who we believe to be the shooter, walked right by me. And just 3-5 seconds later, you heard a series of gunshots from that aisle.”
Kroger employee Stephanue Ethier told WLKY-TV, “It’s terrible. I was so shocked because its Krogers. Why would someone do this at Krogers? I never thought it would happen here. I was just so scared when I heard. I would normally be at work today. I’d normally be here and I would have been here. OK. It’s just crazy, I don’t even know what to think right now.”
Police and witnesses said Gregory Bush ran into the parking lot after killing Stallard inside the store and opened fire again, striking a woman at random. She has been identified as 67-year-old Vickie Lee Jones. According to the arrest report, Bush had re-holstered his weapon after fatally shooting Stallard. When he walked out of the store he drew his weapon again and shot Jones, killing her.
Andrew Butler, who was inside the store, told WDRB-TV, “I know there were shots fired out here in the parking lot. You can see the vehicle’s windows over there that are shot out … There’s a body right over there in the parking lot.”
Eric Deacon, an EMT who witnessed the woman being shot in the parking lot, said he tried to give the woman CPR, but told the Louisville Courier Journal by the time he reached her “she was gone. There was nothing I could do.”
Deacon said he heard several shots. He told WLKY-TV, “I got down on the ground and as I was getting down I saw the guy come running towards me. He had the gun in his hand and I’m thinking ‘I gotta get down.'”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Jones’ family with funeral expenses. “My sister was a Christian and had moved out to Jeffersontown to be safe. Our family lives all over the US and we cannot afford or come up with a way to get some of us to the funeral and back home again,” her sister wrote on the GoFundMe campaign page.
“At this point, with the early stages of the investigation, it does appear that she was a random victim in the parking lot,” Jeffersontown Police Chief Sam Rogers said at a press conference Wednesday.
2. The Suspect Asked the Man Who Confronted Him With a Gun Not to Shoot Him & Said ‘Whites Don’t Kill Whites’
Police said in the arrest report that Gregory Bush was “challenged” by another shopper with a handgun in the parking lot after fatally shooting Vickie Lee Jones. Police said Bush “began firing wildly at the civilian throughout the parking lot,” but neither man was injured.
Ed Harrell told the Louisville Courier Journal he was in his car and heard gunshots, so he grabbed his revolver and crouched down next to his vehicle. He then saw a man he later realized was the shooter walking “nonchalantly” through the parking lot with a gun by his side. Harrell told the newspaper he asked the man what was going on, and the shooter replied, “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.”
Harrell said he dove behind his car and then watched as the man got into his car and drove off. In an interview with WAVE-TV, which you can watch below at about the 12-minute mark of the video, Harrell’s son talked about his father’s encounter with the gunman.
“The man came casually walking up to him, had his gun to his side already cocked. My dad was standing behind his car with his gun cocked to his leg and the guy told him, ‘please don’t shoot, please don’t shoot and I won’t shoot you,” Steve Zinniger told the news station. “He said ‘please don’t shoot’ or ‘I won’t shoot you,’ he said, ‘whites don’t kill whites.'”
Zinniger added, “he didn’t see anything besides the man taking off in the parking lot. At that point the guy was gone, he heard screeching tires in the parking lot.”
The suspect was taken into custody not far from the store after fleeing in his car. According to the Louisville Courier Journal, police surrounded his vehicle, a Honda Civic, on Hurstborne Parkway and arrested him without incident.
No other details about the arrest have been released.
Eric Deacon, who witnessed the shooting in the parking lot, told the Courier Journal, “I just know the look on that guy’s face. It was like a blank stare … like he didn’t have a care in the world. I never thought this would happen in J-town. I never thought.”
3. Bush Has Been Accused of Assaulting His Ex-Wife & Parents & His Father Told Police ‘He Carries a Gun Everywhere He Goes … He Is Dangerous. He Is Paranoid’
Gregory Bush has a history of domestic violence arrests dating back several years, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. He has been accused of assaulting his ex-wife and his parents. He was also once arrested after he was accused of following a teen girl into a bathroom at a movie theater.
In 2009, he was accused of assaulting his father during a domestic violence incident involving his parents, the Courier Journal reports. He was ordered by a judge to surrender his guns and undergo mental health treatment, the newspaper reports. His father sought a protective order against him because he had lifted his mother of the ground by her neck and hit his father in the jaw, according to court records. He also threatened to shoot his parents, whom he lived with at the time. His father wrote in court documents, “He carries a gun everywhere he goes. He is dangerous. He is paranoid. I want him to stay away,” the newspaper reports. In the protective order, the judge wrote, “No guns!” The order expired in 2011.
According to an arrest report obtained by WDRB-TV, Bush told his father, “tonight might be black death,” when he got angry during an altercation.
After an incident in 2009, he was convicted of fourth-degree assault after he was accused of attacking his parents during an argument at their home. Police said he hit his father and grabbed his mother before locking himself in a room. He also shot a cell phone and unplugged a phone so his parents couldn’t call 911, according to the report. Bush later fled from the home with two guns before being arrested and his parents said they had been “terrified” by him. His 10-year-old son was also in the home at the time He was ordered to seek mental health treatment and stay on his medication as part of the plea deal.
In 2001, Bush’s then-wife took out a protective order against him, court records show. Bush was charged with third-degree assault in 2009 after an altercation with his ex-wife at Jefferson Family Court, according to court records. He was accused of screaming profanities at her and causing “undue fear and apprehension.” He was also charged with resisting arrest and striking a deputy who was trying to handcuff hi, the newspaper reports. Court documents note he was considered a suicide risk when he was taken to jail. He later pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
According to court documents obtained by WDRB-TV, Bush directed racist slurs toward his ex-wife during arguments. On one ocassion he called her a, “n*gger b*tch,” records show. His ex-wife wrote in documents, that Bush was “paranoid and was put on medication,” and had “stopped taking his medication.”
In 2003, Bush pleaded guilty to menacing after he was accused of following a 15-year-old girl into a bathroom at a movie theater. The girl said he put his hands around her waist and then told her “he thought they were family,” according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press. The girl then pushed him away and he was later arrested.
Police have not said if the gun used by Bush in the shooting was legally owned, and if it was a legal gun, when and where he purchased it. It is not clear if his guns were returned to him after the protective order in the 2009 case expired in 2011. Federal law prohibits those convicted of domestic violence from owning firearms.
A criminal background check obtained by Heavy shows that Bush never spent much time in jail, despite the charges against him. He was also never convicted of a felony. In the 2009 case, the third-degree assault, fourth-degree assault, resiting arrest and terroristic threatening charges were amended down or dismissed and he pleaded guilty to second-degree disorderly conduct and intimidating a participat in the legal process. He was sentenced to 58 days in jail, which he had already served.
Also in 2009, Bush spent two days in jail after pleading guilty to driving with a suspended or revoked license. In the 2009 domestic violence case involving his parents, Bush pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assualt (domestic violence) and wsa sentenced to 275 days in jail, with all but 12 days he had already served suspened. He was also put on probation for two years.
Bush pleaded guilty to menacing in the case involving the 15-year-old girl at the movie theater in 2003 and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, but was not required to serve that sentence because he met the conditions of his release. In 2001, he pleaded guilty to not paying child support and was given a conditional 12-month jail sentence that he did not serve.
4. He Posted Often on Social Media, Including AboutBeing the Father of a Biracial Son, His Views on Race Issues, His Conservative Political Views, Mental Illness & Kentucky Basketball
Gregory Bush is originally from Fern Creek, Kentucky, and lives in Louisville, according to his Facebook page. Bush graduated from Fern Creek Traditional High School in 1985. He has been divorced since 2000 and has a son. He has worked as a warehouse forklift driver, a roof bow leadman, an assistant supervisor and a ramp handler, according to his Facebook page, but says he has not worked since 2008 because of health issues.
Bush wrote on Facebook about those mental health issues. In the “about” section of his Facebook page, he wrote, “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. I’m lucky my parents are in good health as it took 2 years too finally get my disabilty. maybe one day I can work again. I’m hoping for the best.”
He previously worked from 1988 to 2001 as a ramp handler for UPS in Louisville. From 2001 to 2004 he was an assitant supervisor at Sweep All, a paving and asphalt service company, in Jeffesontown. He worked as a roof bow leadman from 2003 to 2005 at Kentucky Trailer and as a warehouse forlkift driver at Owens Corning from 2005 to 2008.
On Facebook, Bush followed several prominent conservative media members and politicians, and talked about right wing political issues. In August 2017, he posted about signing a petition asking Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin to declare no historic monuments, especially those pertaining to the Civil War, be removed, relocated or destroyed. In November 2017, he shared a petition he signed asking for officials to reinstate a Kentucky deputy who resigned after posting a photo to social media giving the thumbs up next to an unconscious woman.
In 2015, Bush shared a meme created by a group called “Stand Strong Against Hate” for “Heterosexual Awareness Month,” that argues the gay pride flag is really a “gay power” flag and should be considered a hate symbol.
Bush also posted often about University of Kentucky sports on Facebook and Twitter. He intereacted frequently with prominent members of the Kentucky sports media and other Wildcats fans, including Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio. Jones tweeted Thursday, “It’s very disturbing to me to see that the shooter at the Louisville Kroger was a big KSR Fan who tweeted all of us often. There is no place for hate and the entire story breaks my heart.”
His social media pages also feature several posts about comic books and movies, including a 2016 post about the “SJW” (social justice warrior) argument that a character in the Netflix adaption of “Iron Fist” should be an Asian man. He argued that the character should be played by a white actor:
So why the hell are people insisting that he should be Asian? In my opinion, demanding that Iron Fist should be Asian, even if it is to correct a long lasting lack of Asian American heroes, etc, is FAR more offensive. Why? Because people are literally demanding that our hero be a racial stereotype, in a most ironic demand from people who claim to be progressive. Speaking AS a progressive, demanding a racial stereotype in the name of diversity is in itself prejudiced and biased.
As for the people freaking out…well, we can’t really stop them; so let them burn themselves out before we move on to the latest thing in comics to set off an uproar. That should arrive a lot sooner than we think
On Twitter, he posted about a 2017 shooting at a church in Tennessee, saying that the media ignored the shooting because the gunman was an immigrant and it doesn’t fit their “leftist narrative.”
He also tweeted in 2014, “trying not to sound racist, but black on black crime usually ends up wtih someone shot or dead.” In 2015, he tweeted, “all lives matter, not just black lives.” And in another tweet in 2014, he used the n-word multiple times, writing, “When I was young it was never hip to call just anyone n*gger or ‘n*gga.’ It seems like a lot of people today use ‘n*gga’ word too easy.”
In 2014 Twitter exchange, he wrote about his feelings about black people not being able to be racist, saying that is “absurd … It’s been going on for some time now. Blacks and minorities being prejudice to whites is the new hip thing. started with comedyn [sic] 70’s.”
He retweeted a post about Trump winning by blasting the NFL for allowing players to kneel during the National Anthem and a tweet saying Colin Kaepernick “ruined football.”
In June 2017, Bush tweeted, “I took a long twitter hiatus because of all drama I created for myself,If anyone knows of a twitter acct.that’s mimicking mine let me know.”
He also posted on social media about having a biracial son and liked Facebook pages related to having biracial children. He wrote on Twitter, “You see I’m very concerned with race relations. I’m a divorced white father with a mixed/black son who I’m trying to raise.” Bush’s son wrote on Facebook, “Please do not try to add me to find out information about my father. I will not be giving any comments on the matter. I will say that my heart goes out to the families of the two victims that my father killed and I wish there was something I could do to change that.”
5. Bush Is Being Held on $5 Million Bail After Making His First Court Appearance & the Jeffersontown Police Are Continuing to Investigate Along With the FBI, ATF & Other State & Local Authorities
Gregory Bush made his first court appearance Thursday morning in Louisville. He was ordered held on $5 million bail after being charged with two counts of murder and 10 counts of wanton endangerment, jail records show. Bush is scheduled to return to court on November 5. Prosecutors and Bush’s attorney have not commented.
The Jeffersontown Police Department is leading the investigation into the shooting. Federal, state and other local authorities are also assisting. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), tweeted Wednesday, “ATF Louisville is responding to a reported shooting at Kroger grocery store near Louisville, Ky.”
The FBI issued a statement about the shooting, saying, it is “currently assisting the Jeffersontown Police Department in the ongoing investigation into the shooting. … FBI Louisville is evaluating the evidence to determine if there were any violations of federal law.”
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, whose employee’s father was killed in the shooting, said in a statement that he is outraged over the shooting, calling it part of an “epidemic of gun violence.” Fischer, a Democrat, said the shooting “hit close to home.” He added, “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.”
Fischer said, “People getting shot at a grocery store, a school, outside a church. Can’t we all agree that that is unacceptable? 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.”
The mayor said, “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. But today, I’m 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.”
He said officials have not done enough. “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?,” Fischer said. “They act as if nothing can be done. That doesn’t sound like the United States of America to me.”