Quintez Brown has pleaded not guilty to charges filed against him in the attempted shooting of Louisville mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg. His bail has been set at $100,000.
Police say the shooting took place about 10:15 a.m. Monday, when a suspect entered Greenberg’s campaign office in Butchertown and began shooting at him.
More:‘Shaken but safe’: Louisville mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg describes shooting
None of the five people in the office were injured, but a bullet grazed Greenberg’s shirt.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Quintez Brown pleads not guilty
Brown, 21, pleaded not guilty to one charge of attempted murder and four counts of wanton endangerment in his first court appearance Tuesday.
Greenberg, a Democrat frontrunner for mayor, said Monday that a man entered his office in Butchertown Market and fired several shots at him, with one bullet grazing the back of his sweater.
A police report says a man later identified as Brown entered the building about 10:15 a.m. and fired a 9mm Glock handgun at Greenberg before fleeing.
Officers found Brown less than half a mile from the campaign headquarters about 10 minutes later, carrying a loaded 9mm magazine in his pants pocket, according to the arrest report.
He also had a drawstring bag with a handgun, handgun case and additional magazines, the report said.
During his arraignment Tuesday, attorney Rob Eggert entered a not guilty plea on Brown’s behalf, requested a bond decrease and urged the court to recognize Brown’s mental state.
Eggert, who was retained by Brown’s father and stepmother Tuesday morning, said Brown had been battling “mental and emotional issues.”
“This is not a hate crime — it is a mental health case,” he said in an interview after the arraignment.
Eggert said he doesn’t know Brown’s diagnosis, where he got the gun or if he knew Greenberg.
More:What we know about the attempted shooting of Louisville mayor candidate Craig Greenberg
The attorney added he had heard Brown is a “good kid” and that “he has a ton of support in the community.”
In court, Eggert said Brown does not have a criminal record outside of a speeding ticket, while arguing to reduce his bond.
He also pointed to Brown’s educational and professional accomplishments. He is currently a senior at the University of Louisville and is a graduate of Manual High.
The prosecutor’s office, however, asked that Brown’s bond be increased from $75,000 cash only to $100,000, which the judge ultimately approved.
Brown’s next court date is set for Feb. 23.
The most serious charge against Brown, attempted murder, is a felony punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison.
When no one is injured, the offense is considered nonviolent and the offender is eligible for parole after serving 20% of the sentence, rather than 85% for a violent crime, according to attorney Brian Butler, a former prosecutor.
Brown is also charged with four counts of wanton endangerment, a felony punishable by one to five years in prison.
Lawyer: Quintez Brown had ‘breakdown’
Later Tuesday, Eggert told The Courier Journal he had met with Brown and that his client is “severely mentally ill and needs treatment, not prison.”
Eggert said he appears to have had “a mental health breakdown and hasn’t slept for days or weeks.”
He is being held in an observation cell on the second floor of Louisville Metro Corrections.
Activists say blaming BLM is ‘irresponsible’
Racial justice activists who know Brown through local protests and organizations said jumping to conclusions about a motive for the shooting is “irresponsible” and “disgusting.”
As of Tuesday, police have not issued a statement on what may have led to the incident.
But following Brown’s arrest, many on social media drew a connection between his activism and the shooting.
Brown frequently wrote about racial justice issues, including as an intern for The Courier Journal in 2019 and 2020. He occasionally wrote opinion columns for the editorial page after that and last wrote for the newspaper in May 2021.
In 2020, Brown was present at several large protests over the police killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot during a botched drug raid.
“I think the idea that his attachment or his connection to (Black Lives Matter) is what motivated this is irresponsible,” said Khalilah Collins, who met Brown at the protests. “I feel like we’re trying to create this narrative of what happened, and we have no idea about nothing.”
Darryl Young, who knew Brown through the Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students, called the incident a travesty and said he’s struggling to reconcile Brown’s arrest with “the Quintez I love.”
“He was interested in social justice and community advocacy. He was looking for different outlets to become a leader,” Young said. “That’s the Quintez I know.”
Young admonished people who “are using this as a moment to further their own political beliefs.”
“I think Quintez needs a lot of help,” he said. “… I would just hope that something can be done for Quintez, that he can have the treatment needed to get to some sort of peace.”
Brown went missing for two weeks last summer. After he was found in New York City, his family asked for privacy while they tended to “Quintez’s physical, mental and spiritual needs.”
University of Louisville professor Ricky Jones, who also writes opinion pieces for The Courier Journal, said he taught Brown and spent a lot of time with him during the school year but had not spoken with him since he disappeared last summer.
Jones said he was shocked by both Brown’s disappearance and arrest.
“(Quintez is) one of the most brilliant kids I’ve ever encountered — absolutely brilliant,” he said. “… He seemed like a kid out of his time, who was misplaced, like he actually belonged to a different generation with his level of consciousness and concern. I’d place him in the top five students that I’ve taught in my 26 years at this school.”
Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, called Monday’s shooting a tragedy and said it points up the need for better access to mental health care in Louisville and that there is still a stigma among many people about seeking the health they need.
“I hope people have room in their hearts to put up prayers for Craig Greenberg and his family and staff and to pray for Quintez and his family,” she said.
Craig Greenberg responds to shooting
Greenberg called the shooting a “surreal experience” in a press conference at a local law office Monday afternoon.
The mayoral candidate said he and four staff members were meeting when a man entered the office, pulled a gun and “aimed directly at me,” he said.
A staff member near the door “bravely” got it shut, Greenberg said, and others moved tables in front of it as the suspect fled.
“Despite one bullet coming so close that it grazed my sweater and my shirt, no one was physically harmed, and we’re extraordinarily grateful for our safety,” Greenberg said from a podium at a local attorney’s office, about two miles from where the shooting occurred. “We are shaken but safe.”
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Greenberg declined to answer questions related to the investigation, including if he recognized the shooter or had been the victim of previous threats.
How to get help
If you or someone you know may be struggling with mental illness, you can seek treatment referrals through SAMHSA’s National Helpline by calling 800-662-4357 or texting 43578 (HELP4U). You can also get information in English and Spanish by calling 800-487-4889 any time day or night.
Andrew Wolfson contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism