LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A Louisville man accused of opening fire at a homeowners association meeting, killing one and wounding another, was ordered held on a $1 million bond Saturday at an initial court hearing where a prosecutor called him "the epitome of danger to the community."
A not guilty plea was entered on behalf of 55-year-old Mahmoud Yousef Hindi to charges of murder, assault and wanton endangerment inthe Thursday evening shooting at a church.
Dressed in a blue jail outfit, Hindi showed no emotion and did not speak as he stood before a judge.
Afterward, defense attorney Todd Lewis called the case a "horrendous tragedy" and said the Hindi family's thoughts were with the victims' families. Lewis asked for patience in unraveling the case.
"We look forward to our day in court," he said. "There's always another side to things."
What specifically sparked the attack wasn't clear.
Police say Hindi had a history of disputes with the homeowners group revolving around a fence that the association said didn't meet its height or design requirements in the upscale neighborhood of Spring Creek.
The association's attorney says that last year, Hindi sent a threatening letter about the dispute.
Two of Hindi's brothers and one of his sons watched the brief arraignment via closed-circuit television in another room. They declined comment as they left the local jail where the hearing was held.
"The family is in a state of shock and disbelief as to what has happened," said Khalid Kahloon, another attorney representing Hindi. "This is a ... peace-loving, law-abiding family enjoying their American dream, and then it's shattered by this unfortunate and very tragic incident."
His attorneys asked the judge for a much lower bond. Kahloon called him a "complex man" who "is not a danger to the community in the sense that this crime is not a random, violent crime."
Prosecutor Joe Martz objected to lowering the bond.
"He is the epitome of danger to the community," Martz said.
The judge kept the bond at $1 million and set a pre-trial hearing for Sept. 14.
Police say Hindi was at the homeowners meeting for a short time before he started shooting. Some of the several people in attendance detained him until police arrived. Police did not release other details such as what sort of weapons was used.
Slain was 73-year-old David Merritt, the one-time president of the homeowners association who was shot once in the head and died at the scene, according to a deputy coroner.
The wounded man, whose name was not immediately released, was in critical condition Saturday at University of Louisville Hospital.
Hindi is Jordanian-American who worked in nuclear medicine, Kahloon said.
Hindi was unable to keep practicing medicine because of health problems -- he recently had back surgery -- and his medical license had expired, the attorney said.
Kahloon mentioned one other time when Hindi had a brush with the law, when he was given a traffic ticket in another county for exceeding the speed limit by 7 mph. Hindi had failed to appear for a hearing on the citation, resulting in a bench warrant, the attorney said.