A Black Lives Matter activist on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to allegations that he shot and tried to kill a candidate for mayor in Louisville, Kentucky.
Quintez Omar Brown, 21, is charged with one count of attempted murder and four counts of wanton endangerment, according to multiple news reports. Bail was set at $100,000, according to a Louisville Courier-Journal story. Court records reviewed by Law&Crime indicate that a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m.
An activist group has reportedly offered — and is attempting — to pay Brown’s bond according to WAVE-TV and a number of other news reports. If Brown is released, he would be ordered to home incarceration, according to Louisville NPR affiliate WFPL-FM.
Craig Greenberg (D), the targeted candidate, is reportedly a frontrunner for the city’s highest office.
Greenberg was not physically injured in the attack, according to Louisville Metropolitan Police Department Chief Erika Shields.
Greenberg said Monday that a man (subsequently identified as Brown) walked into his campaign headquarters during a staff meeting and fired several shots. Greenberg said one of the bullets grazed the back of his sweater — an account the police backed up.
“We asked if we could help him,” Greenberg told CNN. “And he pulled out a gun, aimed it directly at me and opened fire.”
“I was fortunate that one of my brave teammates slammed the door shut,” the candidate continued. “They were able to throw some desks on top of the door and the suspect fled. So, we are very blessed to be here today. All of us on the team are.”
A police report obtained by the Courier-Journal alleges Brown pulled the trigger of a 9mm Glock handgun at about 10:15 a.m. Monday. Police officers caught the defendant ten minutes later “less than half a mile from the campaign headquarters” in the Butchertown Market area, the newspaper said; the loaded pistol was in his pants pocket, the police paperwork reportedly says.
Brown also was carrying an additional magazine and ammunition, the newspaper noted, again citing the police report.
During a Tuesday arraignment, defense attorney Rob Eggert “urged the court to recognize Brown’s mental state,” the Courier-Journal continued. Eggert reportedly said his client had “mental and emotional issues” and declared that the case involved “mental health” — “not a hate crime.”
The defense attorney told the newspaper that his client was “severely mentally ill and needs treatment, not prison.” Brown, per his attorney, had “a mental health breakdown and hasn’t slept for days or weeks.”
The Courier-Journal noted that Brown disappeared last summer for approximately two weeks and turned up in New York City. When he was found, his family said they needed time to deal with Brown’s “physical, mental and spiritual needs,” according to the Courier-Journal.
Both CNN and the newspaper reported that brown Brown was a student at the University of Louisville and was a former intern and editorial columnist at the Courier-Journal. News organizations nationwide have been abuzz about Brown’s connection to the Black Lives Matter movement, to calls for racial justice, and even to gun control — but those who knew Brown unanimously told the Courier-Journal that they were struggling to reconcile the criminal charges and the alleged shooting with the young man they knew personally. Those same individuals also implored observers not to use the allegations to malign the causes and issues Brown had long championed in the public sphere.
FOX News characterized Brown as having “advocate[d] for the ideals of communism, socialism,” and “liberation.” The conservative network’s website said Brown also “criticized ‘gun-loving’ Republicans.” The latter was a reference to an editorial about a Kentucky concealed carry law, FOX said.
A Twitter account attributed to Brown suggests he was considering running for city council this year, but the New York Times reported that he failed to file the necessary paperwork by a required deadline.
Quintez Brown, 21, is running to represent District 5 for Louisville’s Metro Council.
“Frederick Douglass said that the youth should fight to be leaders today, because the men who run this country are sick.” – Kwame Ture pic.twitter.com/tUCjXXG2hS
— Quintez Brown – District 5 (@tez4liberation) December 15, 2021
“We have one scientific and correct solution,” the biographical blurb on that Twitter account reads. “Pan-Africanism: the total liberation and unification of Africa under scientific socialism.”
— Quintez Brown – District 5 (@tez4liberation) February 10, 2022
Brown also appeared on MSNBC in 2018 during a “March for Our Lives” gun control rally. During the appearance, Brown said gun violence was a problem.
“Where I come from, I feel less safe in my community,” Brown said while commenting that “gun violence” affects schools, communities, churches, and clubs.
“It’s like a war zone,” Brown said with reference to gun safety drills at his school.
“We want common sense gun reform,” Brown added. He indicated that politicians who didn’t deliver it — including a ban on “assault rifles” — needed to be prepared to be lose their jobs.
“We’re going to vote you out of office,” Brown said to his political opponents. “So, if you want to keep your job, then, you know, give us not what we — not what we want, but what we need — humans need. We need common sense gun reform. Get rid of assault rifles. Come on!”
An FBI spokesman said federal agents were reviewing the case to determine whether any federal crimes occurred, according to CNN. Agents with the federal department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms were also involved in the investigation.
The attempted murder charge is technically punishable by 10 to 20 years behind bars, but the newspaper noted that “[w]hen no one is injured” in an attempted murder case, “the offense is considered nonviolent and the offender is eligible for parole after serving 20% of the sentence.” The wanton endangerment charges, all of which are felonies, are technically punishable by one to five years in prison, the newspaper added.
Online jail records indicate that the defendant remains in the custody of Louisville Metro Corrections. He was booked on Monday 8:33 p.m., the records indicate.
The criminal case is number 22-F-001122 in Jefferson County, Kentucky.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]