The man who shot and killed two Black shoppers at a Kentucky Kroger supermarket in 2018 has been sentenced to life in prison.
Gregory Bush, 53, learned of his fate on Tuesday, at Jefferson Circuit Court. He pleaded guilty to killing Vickie Jones, 67, and Maurice Stallard, 69, at Jeffersontown Kroger store on Oct. 24, 2018.
That afternoon, Bush walked into the store and shot Stallard in the back of the head as he was shopping for school supplies with his grandson. Bush continued to shoot Stallard multiple times while he was lying on the floor. As he was leaving, Bush shot Jones, who bled to death in the parking lot.
Bush is white and Jones and Stallard were Black. Neither of the victims knew Bush.
He was sentenced without the possibility of parole, and still faces federal gun and hate crime charges. In addition to the murder charges, Bush also faced charges of attempted murder and wanton endangerment.
Surveillance footage shows that Bush traveled to a nearby predominately Black church minutes before the Kroger shooting and tried to enter, but the doors were locked.
One witness told WAVE 3 News that Bush had told him that “whites don’t kill whites,” at one point, adding that he “realized that sounded bad and would be received poorly and work against him.”
Attorney General William Barr said he won’t seek the death penalty in the federal charges.
In a statement, Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said, “Vickie Jones and Maurice Stallard were senselessly murdered because of the color of their skin. Our entire community and commonwealth had suffered a loss because of racial enmity.” Bush has a history of making racial threats.
Because Bush pleaded mentally ill, the Kentucky Department of Corrections will be required to provide him with medication and treatment. He has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder but was ruled competent to stand trial in August.
He is scheduled to plead guilty to federal charges in U.S. District Court in February.
The families of the victims have filed a lawsuit against Kroger, alleging the chain permitted customers to carry guns in stores, and did not try to stop Bush from entering the store with a weapon. Kroger has asked customers not to openly carry guns in stores.
Stallard’s daughter Kelly Watson spoke in court Tuesday about her father, saying, “The man whose life you took, he gave and he loved everybody around him. He was there for everybody. … And I hope that while you are sitting in jail, you are able to reconcile your own life and think about what you did. And I’m grateful you will never be able to hurt anyone else.”