Grandfather Of Toddler Shot In Road Rage Incident Did Not Fire At Other Automobile, Prosecutors Say, As Search For Shooter Continues
DOWNTOWN – A Cook County judge on Thursday paid $ 5,000 bail to the grandfather of a 21-month-old boy who was shot in the head in a fit of anger on Lake Shore Drive – contrary to what police do and city officials originally said.
Jushawn Brown, 43, was arrested Tuesday shortly after Kayden Swann was shot dead between two vehicles in the street during an incident. Kayden remains in critical condition at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
Police said the confrontation started south on 35th Street and Lake Shore Drive before ending near Grant Park with a baby in critical condition.
Cook County Prosecutor Andrea Williams said Brown was driving his girlfriend, Swann’s grandmother, in the front seat and the boy in his car seat when an SUV pulling into its lane nearly hit his car.
Brown stopped and yelled at the driver of the SUV, Williams said. She said Brown and the stranger exchanged words, and then the other man pulled out a gun and asked Brown, “What was he going to do about it while dangling the gun on the defendant?”
Brown then put his 9mm pistol on his lap and continued north on Lake Shore Drive to escape the SUV. The SUV driver continued to follow Brown’s family and started shooting at their vehicle, a white Lincoln sedan, Williams said.
One of the bullets smashed the rear window and hit the kid in the head, Williams said.
Police and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said it appeared like Brown and the other man shot each other over several blocks. Police said Tuesday they recovered several cartridge cases between the 900 and 1100 blocks of South Lake Shore Drive near Grant Park.
But Williams said in court the police had concluded that all of the cartridge cases were from the same gun, which was not from Brown. In an updated police department statement Thursday, mention of Brown shots was omitted.
After the shooting, Brown crashed into another vehicle near East Jackson Drive and Lake Shore Drive before a Good Samaritan drove her to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Kayden was brought to Lurie with a severe brain injury that required “full intensive care assistance”. Doctors placed him in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator.
At the hospital, police spoke to Brown’s friend and learned that he had a gun.
“The police then asked him if there was something about him that he shouldn’t have, and the defendant said he had his protection with him,” Williams said.
After knocking, the police took back the loaded gun. Brown doesn’t have a valid FOID card or conceal carry license, Williams said. Brown has two felony convictions, one from 2008 and one from 2012.
During the bond hearing, Brown appeared emotional and urged Judge Charles Beach to ask if he needed a moment.
Cook County’s attorney Melissa Delgado told Beach that Brown, who works as a machine operator for the Blommer Chocolate Company, has worked fully with the authorities and has no criminal background.
“As far as I can see, you are a man responsible for this. You care about your job and your family and you have stayed out of significant trouble for a long time, ”Beach said.
Beach also said that Brown did not fire his gun during the traffic dispute and that the other driver was the attacker.
“There does not appear to be any evidence that Mr. Brown aimed his gun at the other person or instigated the other person’s actions,” Beach said. “In fact, he referred to his weapon as ‘his protection’ … which means the other person didn’t know you were armed and [the other man shooting] was not a reaction to your actions – you acted aggressively on your own initiative. “
Brown has to post $ 500 to get out of jail. His next court date is April 14th.
Police have not released a description of the gunman’s vehicle other than that it is an SUV and said the incident would be further investigated Thursday evening.
Dr. Marcelo Malakooti, deputy chief medical officer and medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit in Lurie, said Wednesday he had “cautious hope” for Kayden’s recovery as the boy’s condition had not deteriorated since Tuesday. However, the recovery process will be long.
“We take each day at a time,” Malakooti said. “In general, every time we have such severe brain damage, we can expect the patient to have a weakened future. Therefore we need support from medical technology. But again, there is no real way of knowing this until we see how it goes in the next few days. “
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