Gregory A. Bush, the man accused of shooting two African-Americans at a Kentucky Kroger supermarket on Wednesday, reportedly tried to enter a predominately black church minutes before the shooting incident, CNN reported.
Surveillance video at Jeffersontown, Kentucky’s First Baptist Church shows a man authorities believed to be Bush trying to enter the building about 15 minutes before the Kroger shooting, police chief Sam Rogers said, CNN stated.
A First Baptist member who was sitting in the parking lot at the time also witnessed someone he believed to be Bush pulling on the doors of the church and banging on them after midday service had ended, according to WDRB-TV.
“Loss of life anywhere is pretty tragic, but just to think that an hour and a half earlier we had 70 people in the church,” First Baptist church administrator Billy Williams told the television station.
“But by the time he came through, all doors were locked, and there were probably eight or 10 still in the building.”
Bush, who the Louisville Courier-Journal stated has a history of violence and mental health issues, is currently facing two murder counts and 10 charges of wanton endangerment following the daylight shooting, one inside the supermarket and the other in the parking lot.
Authorities arrested Bush after a brief chase when he fled the scene. Police believe that the shootings were racially motivated after one witness told them that Bush allegedly said, “whites don’t shoot whites,” the newspaper stated.
“Our hearts break for the families of the those we lost to the tragedy at the Jeffersontown Kroger,” Russell M. Coleman, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, said in a statement Friday, according to CNN.
“The murders are not being taken lightly by the United States government. 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,” he continued.
One shooting victim, Maurice Stallard, 69, was at the store with his 12-year-old grandson to purchase poster board for the boy’s school project, CNN stated. Stallard was the father of Kellie Watson, the chief equity officer for the city of Louisville, the network confirmed.
Vickie Jones, 67, whose husband died of cancer in 2010, was in the parking lot when she was shot and killed, according to the Courier-Journal.
“Something needs to be done to stop putting guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” Jones’ nephew Kevin Gunn said at a news conference outside of city hall, the Courier-Journal reported.
“Something is wrong with the system. This shouldn’t have happened.”