BREAKING NEWS Man indicted for fraud on fallen Huntsville Police Officer Billy Clardy III’s memorial fund Full Story

Mayor: Shooting investigated as hate crime

The fatal shooting of two black people in a Kentucky Kroger grocery store is being investigated as a hate crime, Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf told CNN.

Posted: Oct 30, 2018 3:18 PM
Updated: Oct 30, 2018 3:46 PM

The fatal shooting of two black people in a Kroger grocery store in Kentucky is being investigated as a hate crime, Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf told CNN on Monday.

Gregory A. Bush, a white 51-year-old, is accused of killing Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Jones, 67, last Wednesday inside the Jeffersontown grocery store and in the parking lot, respectively.

Prior to the shooting, Bush allegedly tried to enter a predominantly black church nearby but was unable to get inside, officials said. When that attempt failed, he went to Kroger instead and opened fire in the store.

Dieruf also said investigators are looking into reports that Bush told a bystander before he was captured that "whites don't shoot whites."

Given that, Dieruf said, the shooting "appears as if it is" a hate crime.

"We have to get this all in line. The U.S. Attorney is reviewing the case, as are ATF and the FBI," the mayor said. "A crime against race is something that we will not accept. If it's a hate crime, it's unacceptable to us that a crime would be committed against a race -- certainly against any nationality or race is heinous."

Heather Hogue, the spokeswoman for the Jeffersontown Police Department, confirmed that police Chief Sam Rogers believes the shooting "appears to be motivated by hate." She also said any charges related to hate crimes would be federal charges and separate from the state charges against Bush.

Bush exchanged multiple rounds of gunfire in the Kroger parking lot with an armed civilian who had a carry concealed permit, police said. Nobody was injured, and the suspect fled the scene and then was arrested nearby, authorities said.

He was arraigned last Thursday on two counts of murder and 10 counts of wanton endangerment and is being held on $5 million bond, according to CNN affiliate WAVE.

The difficulty of hate crime charges

Although Bush does not face hate crime charges at this time, several officials have said they believe the crimes may fit that definition. Hate crimes are defined by the FBI as a traditional criminal offense but with an added element of bias.

Russell M. Coleman, the US attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, said in a statement that federal investigators are "supporting local law enforcement and examining this matter from the perspective of federal criminal law, which includes potential civil rights violations such as hate crimes."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents Kentucky, said he believed that the Kroger shooting and the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday were both hate crimes.

"We witnessed, all of us, two horrendous shootings this weekend. One in a synagogue in Pittsburgh and one in a Kroger's store in Louisville," McConnell said. "If these aren't definitions of hate crimes, I don't know what a hate crime is. And I know that's a legal determination that's going to be made by others but that certainly is my opinion."

The suspect in the synagogue shooting, Robert Bowers, made anti-Semitic statements during and after the shooting and extensively targeted Jews on social media. Bowers faces 29 charges in all, including 11 counts of obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death.

CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano said that the Pittsburgh shooter's anti-Semitic remarks to police at the scene made connecting the dots fairly easy for hate crimes charges.

In general, though, officials act in an abundance of caution before applying hate crimes charges because it requires officials to prove their motivation.

"It's trying to intuit intent," he said. "And that's a very difficult thing sometimes."

Still, he said he believed the Kroger shooting investigation would move in that direction in the near future.

"Does there appear to be enough there that you could charge this as a federal hate crime? I think the answer yes," he said. "It just hasn't happened yet. But that doesn't mean it's not going to happen."

There were a total of 6,121 hate crime incidents in 2016, including nine hate crime murders, according to FBI statistics. However, some legal experts say that the FBI data is undercounted because the hate crime reports are provided voluntarily, and not every police department participates.

Mayor visits targeted church

Surveillance video showed that 10 to 15 minutes before the grocery store shooting, Bush tried to enter the First Baptist Church in Jeffersontown, Chief Rogers said.

A church member sitting in the parking lot saw the suspect banging on and pulling the door, trying to get inside, CNN affiliate WDRB reported.

"To think that an hour and a half earlier, we had 70 people in the church," church administrator Billy Williams told WDRB. "But by the time he came through, all doors were locked, and there were probably eight or 10 still in the building."

In the wake of that threat, Mayor Dieruf said he attended the First Baptist Church on Sunday and spoke with parishioners.

"I told them in church, there's no reason we can't be the beacon that changes the world," Dieruf said. "They get it. When you walk in and sit down, people shake your hand and hug and thank you for being there. They haven't gotten the fear of not welcoming people -- they welcome everybody.

"Five days after an incident like this, of a person probably trying to break in, that's what we have to do on a national basis. We've got to get back to where we feel safe and where we feel welcome," he said.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 82°
Florence
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 76°
Fayetteville
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 78°
Decatur
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Scottsboro
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 78°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 89927

Reported Deaths: 1580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11859225
Mobile9086191
Montgomery6249143
Madison501425
Tuscaloosa397463
Baldwin321023
Shelby305032
Marshall296630
Unassigned273453
Lee250540
Morgan222315
Etowah193026
DeKalb170113
Elmore160237
Calhoun15609
Walker147063
Houston131912
Dallas128823
Russell12331
St. Clair121712
Franklin119620
Limestone119613
Cullman114111
Colbert109312
Lauderdale107112
Autauga102420
Escambia97915
Talladega91813
Jackson8283
Chambers82138
Tallapoosa81478
Dale78520
Butler75235
Blount7363
Chilton7106
Coffee7095
Covington70920
Pike6607
Barbour5635
Lowndes55224
Marion54224
Marengo52014
Clarke4869
Hale45926
Bullock43811
Perry4294
Winston42911
Wilcox4059
Monroe3914
Randolph38810
Bibb3743
Conecuh37310
Pickens3679
Sumter36118
Lawrence3100
Washington31011
Macon30913
Crenshaw2863
Choctaw27412
Henry2453
Cherokee2427
Greene24211
Geneva2320
Clay2175
Lamar1982
Fayette1745
Cleburne1211
Coosa922
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 110636

Reported Deaths: 1092
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby21492288
Davidson19400202
Rutherford607253
Hamilton566147
Knox403236
Williamson326922
Sumner317870
Unassigned29544
Out of TN278314
Wilson207221
Montgomery173411
Bradley171310
Sevier17135
Trousdale15726
Putnam154413
Robertson145017
Hamblen122913
Blount11207
Tipton11069
Maury10815
Washington10662
Madison91213
Bedford87110
Macon83213
Sullivan8069
Hardeman80111
Lake7490
Bledsoe6721
Loudon6533
Fayette6208
Anderson6075
Dickson5951
Gibson5672
Dyer5557
Cheatham5485
Rhea5021
Jefferson4962
McMinn48920
Lawrence4786
Obion4354
Henderson4310
Carter4275
Lauderdale4236
Coffee4172
Warren4034
Hardin4017
Cocke4001
Cumberland3796
Haywood3745
Greene3715
Monroe3669
Roane3642
Smith3633
Hawkins3624
Giles3519
McNairy3165
DeKalb3051
Franklin2864
Weakley2763
Marshall2652
Lincoln2541
Hickman2310
Carroll2283
Crockett2263
Claiborne2210
Henry2160
Wayne2161
Campbell2131
Marion2054
White1943
Chester1932
Johnson1720
Grainger1690
Polk1651
Decatur1612
Unicoi1380
Overton1341
Union1200
Cannon1180
Jackson1061
Humphreys1053
Scott1040
Grundy1012
Meigs980
Benton971
Sequatchie940
Morgan821
Hancock761
Fentress740
Perry740
Stewart700
Clay610
Lewis561
Houston550
Moore450
Van Buren330
Pickett221

 

 

Community Events