Man sleeping with a gun in his waistband shot himself and a 3-year-old, then lied about what happened, Chicago police say

A Chicago man on probation for a felony gun case shot himself and his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son when a gun discharged in his waistband while they all slept in the same bed, then lied to police about what happened, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Saying the allegations against Michael Howard-Owens are “absolutely, positively shocking to the conscience,” Judge Maryam Ahmad ordered him to pay a $35,000 bail deposit to be released on electronic monitoring.

Michael Howard-Owens (2021) | Chicago Police Department

Howard-Owens sought treatment at a hospital and told Chicago police that he had been shot by a man wearing a ski mask. But cops grew suspicious because, while he had a gunshot wound in his leg, there were no bullet holes in his pants, prosecutors said. The investigation expanded from there.

During a bail hearing on Wednesday, prosecutor Sarah Dale-Schmidt said Howard-Owens, his girlfriend, and the boy were sleeping in the woman’s bedroom on Sunday when a firearm in Howard-Owens’ waistband discharged. The bullet allegedly passed entirely through the boy’s foot and proceeded into Howard-Owens’ calf.

Howard-Owens, who immediately realized he had been shot, left the house and was later driven to a hospital by his mother, Dale-Schmidt said.

Meanwhile, his girlfriend continued sleeping. She later realized the boy was suffering pain from a through-and-through gunshot wound to his foot and called 911, according to Dale-Schmidt. The woman told police who responded to the call that the boy’s injuries might have been inflicted when Howard-Owens shot himself earlier.

Howard-Owens surrendered to police on Monday and admitted to having a gun before going to bed and being shot in bed, Dale-Schmidt said.

Chicago police allegedly found blood and possible gunshot residue on the woman’s bed sheets and a 22-caliber bullet casing the bedroom floor.

The boy is now in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Howard-Owens’ defense attorney, Matthew Shepard, said it was “suspicious” that the child’s mother did not realize and report the boy’s injuries right away. He said Howard-Owens, the father of two, works full-time as a security guard. 

“This man is a security guard,” echoed Judge Ahmad. “To protect whom? To protect whom?”

Ahmad called Howard-Owens’ actions “sheer incompetence with a firearm.”

He is charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, reckless discharge of a firearm, reckless conduct causing great bodily harm, and filing a false police report.

Howard-Owens was on probation for a gun case at the time of this week’s shooting. Ahmad held him without bail on that matter until the judge handling that matter reviews the new allegations.

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