LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Jefferson County grand jury on Wednesday indicted the man charged with killing two people at a suburban grocery store.
Gregory Bush, 51, was indicted on two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and three charges of wanton endangerment.
Bush is accused of killing two people at the Kroger store in Jeffersontown on Oct. 24.
Louisville residents Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Lee Jones, 67, both died at the scene. The attempted murder charge comes from the shots Bush fired at a good Samaritan in the Kroger parking lot. According to court documents, Bush and a man named Dominic Rozier, who also was armed, exchanged gunfire with others nearby. No one was hurt, and Wine said Rozier will not be charged.
The two wanton endangerment charges stem from the danger Rozier’s wife was in, as well as the danger Stallard’s 12-year-old grandson was in.
Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine announced the indictments at a news conference following the grand jury session Wednesday.
After his opening remarks, Wine was asked whether his office will pursue the death penalty.
“It’s a little early for that,” he said. “We have a process that we set up ... part of that process includes talking with the survivors, the victims' family members, and quite frankly it is too early to talk about that. We need to allow them some time to bury the dead, their loved ones, allow them some time to grieve.”
Wine also clarified why the deadly attack hasn’t been formally considered a hate crime.
“Hate crime is not a separate charge in Kentucky,” he said. “Hate crime is a status and it only comes up at at the time of sentencing ... The judge makes a determination by preponderance of the evidence -- 51 percent more likely than not that this individual acted out of hatred toward another individual because of their race, gender or any other type of immutable characteristic. So Kentucky’s hate-crime statute really does not help us at all.”
One witness at the scene told WAVE 3 News minutes after the shooting that as Bush walked through the parking lot, Bush was heard saying, “whites don’t kill whites.”
And as the investigation unfolded, it was revealed that a short time before the shooting, Bush was seen on surveillance video trying to break into a church whose congregation is predominantly black.
While Wine explained the nuance of hate-crime law in Kentucky, the United States Department of Justice, which can charge someone with such, issued a statement that the case is being investigated accordingly.
“The United States Attorney’s Office, DOJ Civil Rights Division, and the FBI have an open and active federal hate crimes investigation that will be thorough and prompt, aimed at collecting the evidence necessary to meet the standards required for charging under the federal hate crimes and related laws,” U.S. Attorney Russell M. Coleman said.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer released a statement following Wine’s news conference.
“As Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said today, our state hate crimes law needs a lot (of) work, including strengthening the penalties for horrific crimes, such as homicides, which currently are not covered. I am pleased that some of our legislators are hearing that call. I look forward to working with Mr. Wine and the legislators to improve the hate crime law as we work for justice for crime victims.”
Fischer also took to Twitter and launched a nine-tweet thread decrying gun violence and racial hatred:
Bush is being held on $5 million bond, and is due back in court Friday morning.