The Latest: McConnell terms shootings as hate crimes

The Latest on the shooting deaths of two people at a Kentucky grocery store (all times local):


U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre and Kentucky grocery store shooting fit the definition of hate crimes, and he says the death penalty should apply in such cases.

The Kentucky Republican said Monday that political rhetoric in the country needs to be "ratcheted down." He told reporters at the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort that these "horrible, criminal acts" underscore the need to "dial it back, and to get into a better, more respectful place."

McConnell spoke briefly about the shootings in Pennsylvania and Kentucky while speaking to members of the conservative Federalist Society at the Kentucky statehouse. He told the gathering that if the shootings "aren't the definitions of hate crimes, I don't know what a hate crime is."

McConnell told reporters later that he still supports the death penalty in certain instances, and he said the two shootings "are the kinds of circumstances I would apply it to."


10:51 a.m.

A police chief has acknowledged that the killings of two black people at a Kroger grocery store were racially motivated, days after the FBI announced that it is investigating the shootings as a potential federal hate crime.

The Courier Journal reports Jeffersontown Police Chief Sam Rogers told the congregation at First Baptist Church on Sunday that racism is "the elephant in the room" of this case.

Civil rights activists in Kentucky are calling for a hate crime prosecution of Gregory Bush, who is being held on state murder charges in last week's shootings of two shoppers in the store outside Louisville. Both victims were black. Bush is white.

Police said Bush tried to break into First Baptist, a predominantly African-American church, shortly before the shooting.


Information from: Courier Journal,