Uptown: Man beat and tried to shoot acquaintance during home invasion, prosecutors say — but the gun jammed

A man is facing attempted murder charges after he allegedly broke into an acquaintance’s Uptown apartment, forced the victim to smoke pot, beat the victim, and then pulled the trigger while pointing a gun at the victim’s face, according to prosecutors. But the gun allegedly jammed, and the victim was able to get help when the intruder allowed him to enter Joseph Brennemann Elementary School to pick up a child after class.

According to prosecutors and police, the strange tale began Monday afternoon when the alleged victim, age 26, woke up to the sound of Johnny McDowell breaking into his home in the 800 block of West Eastwood. A relative of McDowell’s also lives at the address, prosecutors said, but the victim had only seen McDowell one time before.

McDowell, 32, began to argue with the man about some damage to a relative’s car from a year ago and then pulled out a gun that he began waving around while threatening to kill the victim, prosecutors said.

He then allegedly punched the victim twice in the face and ordered him to empty his pockets while holding the man at gunpoint. After getting the man’s phone, cash, credit cards, Apple watch, and some pot, McDowell ordered the victim to smoke the marijuana with him, prosecutors said.

According to the allegations, McDowell became angry about a comment the victim made after smoking up, and he punched the man in the face two more times before pistol-whipping him in the head twice.

The attack caused the man to experience convulsions, and McDowell threatened to kill him if he didn’t stop shaking, prosecutors said.

At that point, McDowell pointed the gun at the man’s face and pulled the trigger. But the gun jammed. McDowell allegedly cleared the gun, reloaded it, racked the slide, and then placed it on the kitchen table.

Shortly before 4 p.m., the victim reportedly told McDowell that he had to pick up a child at Brennemann School, a fact that McDowell allegedly confirmed by calling the child’s mother.

The men got into the victim’s car and the victim drove to the school, 4251 North Clarendon, while McDowell held him at gunpoint and ordered him not to do anything stupid, prosecutors alleged.

The victim sought help from school staff members when he got inside. Police arrived quickly and found McDowell sitting outside the school in the victim’s Jeep, according to a CPD report.

Cops recovered the victim’s ID, phone, credit cards, and Apple watch from McDowell and found a loaded handgun under the driver’s seat, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors charged him with attempted first-degree murder and armed robbery.

“There’s something in these facts that just don’t add up,” McDowell’s public defender told Judge Mary Marubio during a bond court hearing Wednesday.

But Marubio said she thought the allegations were clear and ordered him held in lieu of $250,000 bail. She also ordered him to go onto electronic monitoring if he can post a 10% deposit bond.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com