LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg paused just once Monday as he recounted being shot at in his campaign office near downtown Louisville.
“It was a surreal experience, and mostly right now,” he said, his voice catching, “I just want to get home to my wife and sons and give them a hug. I haven’t been able to see them all day.”
Greenburg and four staff members were at a meeting in Butchertown Market when a man entered the doorway about 10:15 a.m., pulled out a gun and “aimed directly at me,” Greenberg said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
A staff member near the door managed to “bravely” get 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.”
Late Monday, Louisville Metro Police identified local activist Quintez Brown, 21, a former intern and editorial columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, as a suspect in the shooting. He has been charged with attempted murder and four counts of wanton endangerment.
Officers found a man matching the suspect description less than a half-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.
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Surveillance video from the building showed the suspect wearing clothes matching Brown’s and carrying a matching bag, the report said.
Police have not released any potential motives, though, in a news conference, Chief Erika Shields said the incident could be related to politics, the fact that Greenberg is Jewish or that the suspect could have mental issues.
Greenberg declined to answer questions related to the investigation, including if he recognized the shooter or had been the victim of previous threats.
Greenberg launched his campaign for mayor last year and quickly built a big fundraising lead in his bid to succeed outgoing Mayor Greg Fischer.
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Before he got into politics, he worked as CEO of 21c Museum Hotels and served on the University of Louisville board of trustees for a couple of years. He became co-owner of Ohio Valley Wrestling alongside Kentucky Sports Radio founder Matt Jones last year and started a firm, Greenberg Group, that’s centered on urban revitalization projects.
In his eight-minute press conference, Greenberg returned multiple times to gun violence that has plagued Louisville, leading to record numbers of homicides in the last two years.
“Today is not a day for politics,” he said. “But it’s not lost on me that the violence my staff and I experienced today is far too common in our city. Too many local families have experienced the trauma of gun violence. Too many in Louisville were not as blessed as my team and I were today to survive.
“Clearly, much more needs to be done to end the senseless gun violence and make Louisville a safer place for everyone.”
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear decried the attempt on Greenberg’s life and called for swift action to punish the perpetrator.
“The person who’s done it needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” the governor said. “And if this has anything to do with a political race, my God, if you disagree with someone you vote against them.”
Contributing: The Associated Press