Kentucky candidate charged with trying to kill would-be mayor

Published 9:30 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2022

A candidate for Louisville’s metro council has been charged with attempted murder, accused of opening fire on a mayoral candidate whose shirt was grazed by a bullet in his campaign headquarters, police said Tuesday.

Quintez Brown, 21, also faces four counts of wanton endangerment, Louisville police spokesperson Aaron Ellis said. Brown pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Tuesday and his bond was set at $100,000. A judge ordered him not to have contact with the alleged victim, Craig Greenberg, a Democrat running for Louisville mayor, or Greenberg’s campaign staff.

Police said Brown appears to have acted alone and the motive remains under investigation. Brown remained in the Louisville Metro jail late Tuesday afternoon.

After Brown briefly disappeared last year, family members said they were concerned about his mental health. His lawyer, Rob Eggert said Tuesday in court that “there are serious mental issues at play here” and he will have Brown undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Brown, a social justice activist running as an independent for the council, has campaigned with a slate of candidates opposed to projects that they say will worsen gentrification in Kentucky’s largest city.

The apparent target of Monday’s shooting, Greenberg has touted his experience at the center of the city’s revitalization efforts, and helped draft legislation promoting developments in Louisville’s predominantly Black west side.

Greenberg said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that his ears were still ringing from the gunshots fired at him the day before. Despite the attack, he said his resolve to run for mayor has not wavered.

“If there’s any good to come out of this, I hope it’s that not only will I be a more effective mayor, but that I’ll be someone who can bring the city together to unify around implementing solutions to end gun violence,” he said in a phone interview.

He said his team has tightened security but that he is committed to continuing to campaign in public.

“I’m focused on bringing people together,” Greenberg said. “It’s unfortunate that too many things right now are dividing people and I would hope that people start lowering the temperature.”

Greenberg said Monday that he was at his campaign headquarters with four colleagues when a man appeared in the doorway and began firing multiple rounds. He said the man pulled a gun, and began shooting at him.

“Despite one bullet coming so close that it grazed my sweater and my shirt, no one was physically harmed,” he said. One staffer managed to shut the door, which they barricaded using tables and desks, and the suspect fled, he said.

Apprehended a short time later less than a half-mile from the scene, Brown was carrying a loaded 9 mm magazine in his pants pocket and had a drawstring bag with a handgun and additional handgun magazines, according to the arrest report.

Brown, a former intern and editorial columnist for The Courier Journal, has been prolific on social media, tweeting and retweeting comments on social justice issues. In one recent post, Brown showed the faces of several young Blacks killed by gun violence in Louisville, writing: “This is our reality. All of these kids are gone.”

“Gun violence reveals the interconnected nature of our reality,” Brown posted. “What affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Especially in our segregated conditions.”

Charles Booker, a Louisville Democrat running for U.S. Senate, said Tuesday that he’s known Brown since Brown was a student at the University of Louisville. Booker said when he last saw him in the summer of 2020, the man’s focus was on helping others.

“The young man I knew then was working to end violence in our city, not carry it out,” Booker said in a release Tuesday afternoon.

Booker said his heart was broken for Greenberg, his family and campaign staff.

Greenberg has built a big fundraising lead in a crowded race to succeed outgoing Mayor Greg Fischer in the Democratic-leaning city. A Harvard-educated lawyer, Greenberg helped start Louisville-based 21c Museum Hotels, building the company to more than 1,100 employees. The company is credited with helping revive Main Street in downtown Louisville and other urban neighborhoods across the country.

Brown disappeared for about two weeks last summer. After he was found safe, his parents issued a statement asking for patience and privacy while they attended to “Quintez’s physical, mental and spiritual needs,” the Courier Journal reported.