UPDATED: Louisville activist pleads not guilty in shooting that targeted mayoral candidate
Louisville activist and writer Quintez Brown is being held on a $100,000 bond, Jefferson District Court Judge Annette Karem said during his arraignment Tuesday morning. He is facing charges of attempted murder and four counts of wanton endangerment.
Police alleged Brown, 21, went into Craig Greenberg’s campaign office Monday morning and fired multiple shots at the Democratic mayoral candidate. No one was injured during the incident. On Tuesday, Brown pleaded not guilty to all of the five charges. He appeared in court through a live feed from the downtown Louisville jail. He was being held in a single cell prior to his appearance, an official in the courtroom said.
Defense lawyer Rob Eggert, who represented Brown during arraignment, argued Brown was “the perfect candidate for bail.”
“Not only did he grow up here, he went to Manual High School,” Eggert said. “He’s a Martin Luther King Scholar, he got a full scholarship from U of L. He’s a senior there.”
Eggert also referenced Brown’s “entire record,” which is two traffic offenses. Brown pleaded guilty to failure to produce an insurance card in 2018 and driving 25 miles per hour over the speed limit in 2019.
Eggert also said he believes “there’s serious mental issues at play here,” citing Brown’s disappearance last year, which prompted local search parties. He was found safe in Brooklyn after 11 days. Eggert said he plans to have Brown’s mental health immediately evaluated.
Karem ultimately sided with prosecutors, who opposed lowering Brown’s initial $75,000 bail. On top of raising Brown’s bail, Karem also barred him from having a gun during the remainder of the case and issued a no-contact order. That means he will not be allowed to contact Greenberg and his campaign staff nor be near his campaign office, if he makes bail.
“Having read the citation, I’m concerned,” Karem said to Eggert. “Also, given your dissertation of your facts as to Mr. Brown’s mental health, that gives me more pause.”
If Brown is able to post the $100,000 bail, he would be transferred to home incarceration. He is scheduled to have another status hearing on Feb. 23.
Police report offers details
Officers were dispatched to Butchertown Market, 1201 Story Ave., around 10:15 a.m. Monday, according to Brown’s arrest citation. Greenberg has a campaign office on the fourth floor of the building.
Police said 911 callers reported a man entered the building and fired several shots at Greenberg before fleeing the scene. Roughly 10 minutes later, officers found a man matching the description of the shooter less than half a mile away from the campaign office. Police identified that person as Brown on Monday night.
According to the citation, Brown had a loaded 9 mm handgun in his pants pocket. He was also carrying a drawstring bag that had another 9 mm firearm and more handgun magazines.
Detectives collected multiple pieces of evidence from Greenberg’s campaign office, including several 9 mm bullet cases, the citation states. They also collected unidentified evidence that they said shows Brown directed several shots at Greenberg. The citation notes there may be video evidence of the shooting.
At a press conference late Monday, Greenberg said he and four of his staffers were gathered at the office for a meeting when a man entered. After greeting the man at the doorway, he said the man immediately opened fire. One of his staffers managed to close the door leading into the office and those inside barricaded the door with tables and desks, Greenberg said.
“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. We are shaken, but safe,” Greenberg said Monday night.
At the press conference, he declined to say whether he personally knew the shooter.
What we know about Brown
Brown is a student at the University of Louisville, his lawyer Eggert said. He was a U of L Woodford R. Porter scholar, a designation awarded to Black students with high academic achievement, and who show a strong aspiration to give back to the community.
Brown was prominent in the 2020 racial justice protests in Louisville, which were sparked by the police killing of Breonna Taylor. Late last year, about five months after his disappearance, he announced his intention to run for Louisville Metro Council’s District 5 seat.
Correction: Annette Karem is a District Court judge. The court was incorrect in a previous version.
This story was updated at 12:15 p.m.