JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. (CBS Local) — Some parishioners will now be allowed to carry weapons in a historically black church in Kentucky after it was visited by a white man accused of gunning down two black people at a grocery store.
Police say Gregory Bush, 51, was seen on surveillance video trying to enter the First Baptist Church minutes before he went on to kill two people at a nearby Kroger on Oct. 24. The victims, Vickie Lee Jones, 67, and Maurice E. Stallard, 69, were both black, while Bush is white.
Jeffersontown Police Chief Sam Rogers told WLKY that he believes the shooting was racially motivated.
“One of our members saw him here,” Rev. Kevin Nelson, senior pastor at the church, told WDRB.
The doors of the church were locked because of recent church shootings in other parts of the country.
“Had we opened the door, he would have had the advantage and someone would have been killed or injured,” Nelson said.
The church already employs a few off-duty police officers. But after last month’s close call, the church is also asking members with security and law enforcement backgrounds to carry firearms during bible studies and services. So far, seven parishioners have been identified to take on the responsibility.
Members with concealed-carry permits will also be allowed to bring their guns if they notify church leaders.