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The suspect in the Kentucky Kroger shooting was not charged with a hate crime. Here's why.

The suspect in a deadly shooting at a Kentucky grocery store was indicted on five counts Wednesday, includin...

Posted: Nov 1, 2018 6:46 AM
Updated: Nov 1, 2018 6:46 AM

The suspect in a deadly shooting at a Kentucky grocery store was indicted on five counts Wednesday, including murder and attempted murder, according to an indictment.

Gregory Bush, a 51-year-old white man, is accused of fatally shooting two African-Americans inside the Kroger grocery store in Jeffersontown, and in the parking lot outside. CNN has reached out to a public defender for Bush and is waiting to hear back.

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Authorities say the shootings appear to be racially motivated. But prosecutor Tom Wine said that because Kentucky's hate crime statute does not include homicides, Bush was not charged with a hate crime in the deaths.

"A hate crime designation only occurs when the judge makes such a determination at sentencing. If the judge finds a hate crime designation is appropriate, it doesn't add any additional time. The designation is only useful if the judge wishes to deny probation or the parole board wants to defer parole," Wine said in a statement.

Bush could potentially face federal hate crime charges. Federal investigators are looking into potential civil rights violations, including hate crimes, said Russell M. Coleman, the US attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.

Hate crimes are considered more difficult to charge and prosecute than other criminal charges, largely because they require law enforcement to prove a specific motivation of bias.

Bush faces two counts of murder for the shooting deaths of Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Jones, 67, according to the indictment. Police say Bush went into Kroger after he tried and failed to enter First Baptist Church, a predominantly black church nearby.

First Baptist Church administrator Billy Williams usually monitors the building's security cameras and lets people in. But he wasn't at his desk on Wednesday when cameras showed the suspect circling the building or standing at the entrance. Had he been there to greet the suspect, Williams does not think he would be alive today. And he believes his church and the victims were targeted because of the color of their skin.

"I don't believe the individual came by our church to do us anything but harm," he told CNN.

Bush is also charged with one count of attempted murder stemming from what authorities described as an exchange of gunfire with an armed civilian. The indictment identifies the armed civilian as Dominic Rozier. Bush is charged with two counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots in the directions of two more people, Kiera Rozier and an unidentified juvenile.

Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf said on Monday that the shooting is being investigated as a hate crime based on the circumstances, including the race of the victims and the defendant. Dieruf said investigators are looking into reports that Bush told a bystander before he was captured that "whites don't shoot whites."

Bush remains jailed on five million dollars bond. His next court appearance is Friday, he said.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3055568

Reported Deaths: 34441
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103280614122
San Bernardino2561091560
Riverside2504362645
San Diego2168352109
Orange2148082477
Santa Clara943661109
Kern86718565
Fresno82485968
Sacramento806781111
Alameda67952765
Ventura62101436
San Joaquin58290786
Contra Costa52965450
Stanislaus42882758
Tulare41867506
Monterey36126255
San Mateo32596309
San Francisco29321262
Solano25806106
Imperial25317465
Santa Barbara25083236
Merced24452308
Sonoma24068240
Kings19435145
Placer17380180
San Luis Obispo15929136
Madera13443151
Santa Cruz12298113
Marin11693157
Yolo10620131
Shasta9776122
Butte9474123
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San Benito496343
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Mono11214
Inyo97429
Del Norte8662
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3024
Sierra820
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 46°
Oroville
Clear
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Hi: 63° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 47°
Chico
Clear
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Hi: 60° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 46°
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Hi: 46° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 37°
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Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 65° Lo: 41°
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Chico
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 50°
As expected, we had much quieter weather around northern California on Wednesday with plenty of sunshine, much weaker wind, and a wide range of temperatures. Thursday will be similar, but much more active weather is coming.
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