National black church organization issues warning in wake of Louisville Kroger shooting

Published: Oct. 26, 2018 at 10:27 PM EDT
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As federal investigators look into whether a deadly shooting at a Louisville area Kroger store was racially motivated, a national association of black churches is warning its member congregations to be on high alert.

The National Black Church Initiative raised its terrorism alert to its highest level, purple, following the October 24 shooting that claimed the lives of two African American shoppers.

Accused shooter Gregory Bush, 51, is charged with two counts of murder and ten counts of wanton endangerment.

Police said Bush tried to get inside First Baptist Church, a predominantly black church, minutes before the Kroger attack.

Pastor Keith Tyler, of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Lexington, questions what Bush intended to do at the church.

"You got a black church then a black couple, so the mission to me was saying that before this day is over with, somebody black is going to die," Tyler said.

Tyler said his congregation has worked closely with Lexington police and fire departments to improve safety, installing lights and 'no trespassing' signs, and making sure doors to the church stay locked. He said ultimately, the safety of his congregants is up to the neighborhood.

"The neighborhood has to unite together, we have to band together as one to say that we will protect our neighborhood. In so doing so, we also will protect our churches," Tyler said.