(Reuters) - A black man and woman were identified by police on Thursday as the two people shot dead at a Kentucky supermarket by a white male suspect who is reported to have told an armed bystander not to shoot him as “whites don’t kill whites.”
The suspect, identified as Gregory Bush, 51, was in custody and facing multiple charges including two counts of murder and 10 counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, Jeffersontown Police said in a statement.
Bush has been accused of shooting Maurice Stallard, 69, multiple times in front of his grandson as they shopped in the Kroger Co grocery store in Jeffersontown, about 15 miles (24 km) from downtown Louisville. Bush then walked out of the store and shot Vickie Jones, 67, several times in the parking lot, according to an arrest citation and the police statement.
An armed bystander with a carry permit for a concealed weapon exchanged gunfire with Bush in the parking lot before the suspect fled in his car. He was apprehended soon after, police said.
Jeffersontown Police chief Sam Rogers told reporters on Wednesday that the suspect appeared to shoot both of his victims at random. Police were working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine a motive for the killings.
Ed Harrell told the Louisville Courier Journal that he was waiting outside the supermarket for his wife when he heard gunshots and took hold of his revolver. He saw Bush walking through the parking lot with a gun and called out to ask what was going on.
“Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites,” Harrell said Bush told him before driving off.
“Our city and our future has no room for anyone who looks at their fellow human beings with hate or discrimination,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said at a press conference on Thursday.
Fischer said Stallard was the father of his staff member Kellie Watson, the city’s chief equity officer who leads efforts to improve racial equity in government policies and practices.
Reporting by Andrew Hay in New Mexico