Twisting, turning tale of toddler shot during Lake Shore Drive road rage confrontation ends with a 4-year sentence

CHICAGO — The man accused of shooting a 2-year-old boy during a road rage incident on Lake Shore Drive in 2021 received a four-year sentence on Friday.

Deandre Binion, 27, struck a plea deal with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to aggravated discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle. In turn, the state dropped 16 felony charges, including seven counts of attempted murder. Judge Michael Hood handed down the sentence.

Varying accounts emerged about what happened in the northbound lanes near Soldier Field on that April day, even before police located Binion.

The toddler, Kayden Swann, was riding in the back seat of a white Lincoln MKS when the driver confronted another driver shortly after 11 a.m., police said.

Witnesses said the driver of an SUV fired into the Lincoln as the cars traveled along the drive. Some witnesses said shots were also fired from the Lincoln the boy was in. Police found at least eight shell casings strewn along the drive between Roosevelt and Buckingham Fountain.

Kayden suffered a gunshot wound to his head and was initially in “very critical condition,” a doctor at Lurie Children’s Hospital said at the time. A year later, Kayden, blind in one eye, was still recovering.

Two days later, the case took its first twist when prosecutors charged 43-year-old Jushawn Brown, who was driving the Lincoln, with a felony gun violation.

Prosecutors said an SUV sped up behind the Lincoln, nearly striking it. Brown exchanged words with the other driver, who then pointed a gun at Brown and asked what he would do about it, officials said. At that point, Brown allegedly took out his own gun and placed it on his lap while driving.

As Brown sped away, the other driver fired shots at the Lincoln, officials initially said. One of the bullets went through its back window and struck Kayden in his right temple, leaving him critically injured.

Deandre Binion (left) and Kayden Swann | CPD; Family handout

While police were speaking with Brown’s girlfriend, who is Kayden’s grandmother, 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.

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,” [Brown’s girlfriend] 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.”

Police arrested Binion about two weeks later.

Officials said Binion nearly struck the Lincoln because he could not get around it due to road construction. Brown leaned out of the Lincoln as the vehicles stopped for a red light and yelled for Binion to back off because there was a child in his car, prosecutors said at the time.

At some point, Binion fired several shots at the Lincoln, stopped his SUV, got out, and fired additional shots at the car before he escaped into the Loop and onto the expressway, prosecutors said during his initial bail hearing. One of the bullets he allegedly fired went through Lincoln’s back passenger window, struck Kayden in the right temple, and exited through the boy’s cheek.

During the bond hearing, Binion’s defense attorney, Mike Krejci, noted that Kayden’s grandmother told the media that she blamed Brown for the entire incident and even said that Brown fired the first shots in the confrontation.

Binion was initially held without bail. But his lawyer filed a motion to reduce bail in late 2021, claiming evidence emerged showing that Binion was not the original aggressor. The lawyer also contended that physical evidence showed that Binion’s car had been struck by a bullet Brown fired.

The attorney’s arguments persuaded Judge Hood. He allowed Binion to go home on electronic monitoring after posting a $50,000 bail deposit.

Binion’s parole date has not been set. However, he will receive a reduction in his four-year sentence for good behavior and day-for-day credit for all of the time he spent behind bars and wearing an ankle monitor.

Brown, originally charged with felony gun violations, was found guilty of a reduced charge of misdemeanor carrying a firearm in public last year. Judge Peggy Chiampas sentenced him to two years of probation and community service.

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