McConnell backs death penalty in Pittsburgh, Louisville shootings

McConnell backs death penalty in Pittsburgh, Louisville shootings
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Iraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests MORE (R-Ky.) says he would support applying the death penalty for those responsible for last week's shooting at a Kentucky supermarket and the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue over the weekend.

McConnell said Monday that he believes the shooting of two African Americans at a Kroger last week by a white man and the killing of 11 people by a man who reportedly yelled anti-Semitic comments at the synagogue qualify as hate crimes, KentuckyToday reported.

“If there is such a thing as a hate crime, we saw it at Kroger and we saw it at the synagogue in Pittsburgh,” McConnell told reporters in Kentucky.

“I still think the death penalty is appropriate in certain circumstances, and these are the types of circumstances I would apply it to.”


Gregory Bush, 51, was apprehended by authorities soon after the fatal shooting in Kentucky.

According to surveillance footage, Bush tried to enter a predominantly black church before going to the supermarket.

Bush had frequently made racist remarks previously and was convicted of domestic assault in 2009, according to

Russell Coleman, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, said in a statement Friday that the possibility of the attack being racially motivated is being examined.

"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 said.

McConnell also referenced the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Robert Bowers, 46, is accused of gunning down 11 people inside the synagogue during morning services. Bowers, who made his first court appearance Monday, faces 29 federal counts, including hate-crime charges and charges that could carry the death penalty if convicted.

Police sources told CBS affiliate KDKA that the gunman shouted "all Jews must die" before he opened fire.