Kentucky shooting suspect charged with federal hate crimes
© Louisville Metro Department of Corrections

The suspect in last month's fatal shooting of two people at a Kentucky supermarket was charged in federal court on Thursday with committing a hate crime as well as committing offenses with a firearm.

Gregory Bush, 51, was charged with three federal hate crimes and three firearm offenses related to the murder of a man inside the Kroger grocery store in Jeffersonville, Kentucky, last month as well as the murder of a woman in the store's parking lot.

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He is also charged with shooting at a third man who was not struck by the gunfire. Federal prosecutors allege that Bush committed the murders due to bigotry against African-Americans, and argued that "substantial planning and premeditation" went in to the attack.

"The crimes alleged in this indictment are horrific," said acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who was appointed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpAustralia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israeli capital, won't move embassy Mulvaney will stay on as White House budget chief Trump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law MORE to succeed Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump, Christie met to discuss chief of staff job: report Chief justice of California Supreme Court leaves GOP over Kavanaugh confirmation Trump attorney general pick a prolific donor to GOP candidates, groups: report MORE last week.

"We cannot and will not tolerate violence motivated by racism. We will bring the full force of the law against these and any other alleged hate crimes against fellow Americans of any race," he added.

The Justice Department notes that the maximum punishment for the crimes under federal law includes the death penalty. The DOJ will announce at a later date whether it will pursue it. 

“Today's indictment should be a reminder to those who are motivated by hate and are intent on committing violence; your hateful ideology will not have the last word. The FBI, and the Department of Justice, will be there, and you will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," added the FBI agent in charge of the investigation, Robert Brown Jr., in a statement.

Media reports indicated that Bush allegedly initially attempted to enter a nearby church, but was unable to gain entry, before selecting the Kroger store as a target.