Kroger shooting suspect tried to enter predominantly black church
Gregory Bush seen on surveillance video at First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown
JEFFERSONTOWN, KY (WAVE) - Customers at a Jeffersontown Kroger may not have been the suspect’s originally intended targets.
Jeffersontown Police Chief Sam Rogers said suspect Gregory Bush was seen 15 minutes earlier on security video attempting to enter the First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown, a predominantly black church.
“Oh my goodness,” Church Administrator Billy Williams said. “It just shocked me, kind of blew me away that something that happened at Kroger’s also could have happened here at First Baptist.”
Williams said he spotted a man wearing similar clothing as Bush during a routine check of the church security video. Jeffersontown Police later confirmed the man in the video was Bush.
Had the suspect arrived at First Baptist an hour and fifteen minutes earlier, he would have found mid-week services wrapping up with 70 people inside.
Williams said the congregation at First Baptist began taking safety precautions after the 2015 mass shooting at an African American church in Charleston, SC. The precautions include locking doors, security cameras and firearms carried by properly trained church members.
- Community lights candles, prays together to pay respects to victims
- Accused killer held on $5M bond
- Families, friends remember Kroger shooting victims
- Suspect Gregory Bush has long criminal record
- Father, son pulled over by police who mistook them for the Kroger shooter
“We have several members that are armed during our midweek service which is what we passed yesterday,” Williams said. “And we have people that are armed on Sunday as well.”
The suspect’s attempt to enter the church supports the possibility of a racially-motivated crime.
The son of an eyewitness in the Kroger parking lot said the suspect walked by his father and said “whites don’t kill whites.”
Thursday on Facebook, the Louisville Urban League called for a hate crime investigation.
“We believe it is happening but want to take nothing for granted. We are calling for an investigation into the murders in Jeffersontown last night. Because of the FB posts of the alleged perpetrator and the comments he made to a man in the parking lot of the grocery store, we thought it necessary to clearly state our desire and support for a hate crime investigation. We recognize that the alleged perpetrator may have had a mental inquest warrant filed previously, however his FB posts, his comments and his visit to First Baptist Jeffersontown lead us to express our concern. We have faith that law enforcement is and will continue to work diligently.”
The FBI is investigating, but investigators would not speculate on a motive.
“We are aware of that statement and are looking for any factors that that may come into play with,” Chief Rogers said.
Copyright 2018 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.