Chicago man who untentionally shot himself and a 3-year old is sentenced to 6 years (He’ll be out in 2 years)

CHICAGO — The Chicago man who shot himself and a 3-year-old child by unintentionally discharging a firearm as they slept in the same bed has been sentenced to six years in prison, but he’s expected to be released after serving just two years.

Michael Howard-Owens, 34, was on probation for a felony gun case when he went to bed with a pistol in his waistband in January 2023. His girlfriend and her 3-year-old son slept with him that night.

At some point during the night, the gun fired, and a bullet passed entirely through the child’s foot and struck Howard-Owens’ calf, prosecutors said. Howard-Owens, who immediately realized he had been shot, left the house and was later driven to Thorek Hospital by his mother, officials said last year.

Michael Howard-Owens (2021) | Chicago Police Department

Hospital staff summoned Chicago police, and Howard-Owens allegedly told them that he had been shot by a man wearing a ski mask. But the cops grew suspicious because, while he had a gunshot wound in his leg, there were no bullet holes in his pants. Detectives started investigating his claims.

Meanwhile, his girlfriend continued sleeping. She later realized her son was in pain from a through-and-through gunshot wound and called 911. The woman told police that the boy’s injuries might have been inflicted when Howard-Owens shot himself earlier, prosecutors stated.

Chicago police allegedly found blood and possible gunshot residue on the woman’s bed sheets and a 22-caliber bullet casing the bedroom floor. Howard-Owens eventually surrendered to police and admitted to having a gun before going to bed and being shot in bed, according to the allegations.

Court records show Howard-Owens recently pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and reckless conduct causing great bodily harm. Judge James Novy sentenced him to six years on each count, with the terms served concurrently. Novy also terminated his previous gun probation sentence unsatisfactorily.

Howard-Owens’ sentence will be reduced to three years for good behavior and offset by credits earned while awaiting trial. He is expected to be paroled on January 15, 2025, after spending a total of two years in custody, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections inmate portal.

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Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com