LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A man accused of shooting at a candidate for mayor of Louisville pleaded not guilty to federal charges in U.S. District Court Friday.
Quintez Brown, 21, has been charged by a federal grand jury with “interfering with a federally protected right, and using and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence by shooting at and attempting to kill a candidate for elective office.”
Brown faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison on the new federal charges. He also faces state charges of attempted murder and four counts of wanton endangerment. He pleaded not guilty to those charges earlier this week.
Before the hearing began, Brown, who wore a green prison jumpsuit, sat silently and at times lowered his head while looking at a piece of paper in front of him. Members of Brown's family and some friends sat in the front row. At one point before the proceedings began, Brown's grandmother started to cry as a family friend embraced her. Members of Brown’s family declined to speak with reporters as they left the courthouse.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Brown was escorted out of the courtroom. He remains in federal custody. A detainment hearing is scheduled for next Friday.
Brown's attorney filed a motion to dismiss the case in federal court on April 13, alleging a violation of Brown's due process and privacy rights.
Brown was arrested by Louisville police shortly after the shooting on Feb. 14. Two days after the shooting, he was placed on home incarceration and fitted with a GPS ankle monitor after a group called the Louisville Community Bail Fund paid the $100,000 cash bond on Feb 16. A judge also ordered Brown to have no contact with Greenberg or his campaign staff and barred him from possessing firearms.
The decision to place him on home incarceration drew bipartisan criticism, including from Craig Greenberg, the mayoral candidate who had been targeted.
Jail records show that Brown has been held at the Grayson County Detention Center in Leitchfield since Wednesday.
Greenberg said he was not hit by the gunfire, although a bullet grazed his sweater.
Greenberg, a Democrat, said he was at his campaign headquarters with four colleagues when a man appeared in the doorway and began firing multiple rounds. One staffer managed to shut the door, which they barricaded using tables and desks, and the shooter fled.
A police report said Brown was carrying a loaded 9 mm magazine in his pants pocket and had a drawstring bag with a handgun and additional magazines when he was arrested.
The motive remains under investigation and has not been discussed publicly by authorities.
Brown, a social justice activist who was running as an independent for Louisville’s metro council, 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 his “physical, mental and spiritual needs.”
Patrick Renn, one of Brown’s lawyers, told reporters outside the courthouse that they plan to argue that remaining in federal custody would be a detriment to Brown's “physical and mental well-being."
“On this case, here, we believe that a key part of the defense is going to be the mental health of Mr. Brown,” Renn explained. At the arraignment, Brown's lawyers requested that federal prosecutors provide them with exculpatory evidence related to Brown's mental health in time for the hearing next week.
In March, a judge cleared Brown to receive a mental health evaluation to determine if he should be admitted to a psychiatric hospital for treatment.
Chanelle Helm, an organizer with the Louisville Community Bail Fund and member of Black Lives Matter Louisville, said the situation is “extremely overwhelming for the family.”
“They’re doing the best that they can. And I think that’s just what we can say about everybody, including Quintez,” Helm added. “And it’s just really hard on everybody to just see this happen.”