Prosecutors on Thursday charged 43-year-old Jushawn Brown with a felony gun violation after he became involved in a road rage incident on Lake Shore Drive that left his girlfriend’s 22-month-old grandson gravely wounded by a gunshot wound.
But the allegations laid out by Assistant State’s Attorney Andrea Williams during Brown’s bond court hearing differed significantly from what Brown’s girlfriend told ABC-7 Thursday and from details released by Chicago police earlier in the day.
Throughout the bond hearing which was streamed live on Youtube, Brown could be heard sniffling and moaning. Judge Charles Beach offered to take a break in the proceedings to allow him to collect himself, but Brown declined.
Prosecutors said Brown was driving northbound on Lake Shore Drive near Soldier Field around 11:07 a.m. Tuesday when an SUV sped up on his car from behind, nearly striking his car.
Kayden was in the back seat and Brown’s girlfriend, Quiana Farr, was in the front passenger sat of his Lincoln MKS.
According to Williams, Brown exchanged words with the other driver who then pointed a gun at Brown and asked what he was going to do about it. At that point, Brown took out his own gun and placed it on his lap while driving, she said.
As Brown sped away, the other driver fired shots at the Lincoln. One of the bullets went through its back window and struck Kayden in his right temple, leaving him very critically injured.
The Lincoln crashed into another car at Monroe Street, and a passing motorist took Kayden, Brown, and Farr to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
While police were speaking with Farr at the hospital, she told officers that Brown was carrying a firearm, according to a CPD report. When cops asked Brown if he had anything he shouldn’t have, he allegedly admitted to having his “protection.”
A loaded 9-millimeter handgun was allegedly found in his pants pocket.
Brown’s public defender said he is a machine operator who has no felony convictions. He has two kids and lives with Farr, the lawyer said. She also pointed out that the prosecution did not make any allegations about Brown firing his gun.
After hearing from the lawyers, Judge Beach spoke directly to Brown.
“I wish the best for you and your family and your grandchild,” Beach said. “I cannot imagine anything worse than what you are experiencing.”
The judge set bail at $5,000, meaning Brown can get out of jail by posting a $500 deposit.
Prosecutors’ formal allegations differed significantly from other information that came out Thursday.
First, police said in a press release that Brown had been charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and said he personally fired a gun during the road rage incident.
But Williams said Brown has no felony record and she did not accuse him of firing any rounds. In fact, she said every shell casing police found came from a gun other than the one Brown was carrying.
Then, Brown’s girlfriend and her father both told ABC7 that Brown started the conflict. One of them even said Brown fired his gun:
“This all about bobbing and weaving in traffic,” Farr said. “This wouldn’t be. He initiated this.”
“He initiated this whole situation,” [her father] added. “If he had not fired shots at this other vehicle, none of this would have happened. Kayden would not be fighting for life today.”
The TV station referred to Brown as Farr’s “now ex-boyfriend” and said Farr was concerned about her own safety should Brown be released.
On Thursday, Chicago police temporarily closed down the stretch of Lake Shore Drive where the shooting unfolded to search for additional evidence in the case — such as shell casings that are different from the ones they already found.
Detectives also continue to pursue the driver who shot Kayden.