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Friday, January 27, 2023

Kroger Shooter Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crimes and Firearm Offenses

A Kentucky man has pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes and firearm charges arising out of the racially motivated shootings of Black individuals at a grocery store. 

Gregory A. Bush, 53, of Louisville, pleaded guilty to federal hate crime and firearm charges arising out of his racially motivated murder of two Black patrons at a Kroger grocery store, and his attempted murder of a third, on Oct. 24, 2018, in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. Bush previously pleaded guilty-but-mentally-ill to state charges for murder, attempted murder, and wanton endangerment arising out of the shooting, and was sentenced to a life term in state prison. 

During the plea hearing in federal court, Bush admitted that on Oct. 24, 2018, he drove to a Kroger grocery store in Jeffersontown armed with a Smith & Wesson, model 411, .40-caliber pistol. In the store, Bush followed a Black man, who was shopping with his grandson, for the length of an aisle before pulling the gun from his waistband and shooting the victim in the back of the head. Bush then shot the victim several more times in the torso, killing him. Bush had no prior relationship with the victim and chose to shoot him because of the victim’s race.  Bush then re-holstered his gun and calmly walked out of the store. 

In the parking lot, Bush walked up to a Black woman, and shot her several times in the head and body, killing her. Bush had no prior relationship with this victim and chose to shoot her because of her race. 

Seconds later, Bush encountered a Black man who was in lawful possession of a handgun. The third victim asked Bush what was going on, and Bush, without responding, began walking toward him with the gun drawn. The third victim fired at Bush, and Bush returned fire. After about a minute, Bush stopped shooting and walked away. Bush had no prior relationship with the third victim and chose to shoot at him because of his race. Bush next encountered a white man, who was legally armed with a firearm.  Bush told him, “Don’t shoot me [and] I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.”   

Bush faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Bush’s sentencing in federal court will be held on June 24, 2021.

Read more at the Department of Justice

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