Grandmother speaks out after toddler shot on Lake Shore Drive
CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 43-year-old Chicago man is facing a felony gun charge following an apparent road rage shooting on Lake Shore Drive downtown that left a toddler critically hurt.
A 21-month-old boy was shot in the head near Grant Park on Tuesday. He remains hospitalized in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Lurie Children's Hospital, where doctors have placed him in a medical coma.
Jushawn Brown, of Englewood, was arrested in Streeterville. He faces a felony charge of unlawful use of a weapon as a felon.
In an updated press release issued Thursday night, Chicago police said Brown was arrested "after he was involved in a road rage incident....in which shots were fired." Initially, police said Thursday that Brown had been "identified as the offender who produced a firearm while traveling in a vehicle and fired shots at another vehicle in traffic during a road rage incident."
The child, identified as Kayden Swann by family, was in the same car as Brown, police said.
Swann was briefly brought out of a medically-induced coma at Lurie Children's hospital Wednesday night. Doctors and family said he's showing positive signs.
"He's moving around," said Clifton Marvel, the boy's great-grandfather. "He's doing a whole lot better."
"One day at a time. One day at a time," said Quiana Farr, the boy's grandmother.
While her focus is with Kayden, his grandmother and great-grandfather briefly turned their attention to Brown's bond court hearing. They say Brown was driving the vehicle Kayden was riding in along with his grandmother Tuesday morning, when a road rage incident on Lake Shore Drive led him to pull a gun on another driver. The other driver fired back, hitting Kayden in the head.
"There was a lineup last night where my daughter was able to identify the other shooter in the other vehicle," Marvel said.
"I know who it was. I know it. I haven't slept in two days," Farr said. "I can't sleep. I can't close my eyes. It's like a nightmare. It repeats over and over."
While police will not say if they have yet taken the other driver into custody, Farr is more concerned about Brown, who she said is directly responsible for her grandson's injuries, and should face more than just the one weapons charge that was filed against her now ex-boyfriend.
While he may not have fired the shot that injured her grandson, she places the blame squarely on her now ex-boyfriend's shoulders. She said she believes Brown should face more than just the one weapons charge that was filed against him.
"This all about bobbing and weaving in traffic," Farr said. "This wouldn't be. He initiated this."
"He initiated this whole situation," Marvel 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."
However, prosecutors said in bond court Thursday they have no shell casings to prove Brown fired his weapon at all. Police were on the scene at Lake Shore Drive again Thursday afternoon looking for additional evidence.
Brown's bond was set at $5,000. The judge said he does not believe he poses a flight risk.
Brown was released on bond and left Cook County Jail just before 10 p.m. Thursday, and completely denied the accusations he had fired his gun.
"No. No, not once. They checked me for gun residue, everything. I did not fire my gun," he said.
Brown said his girlfriend was hysterical over the situation, especially once she realized the toddler had been shot, so it was possible she thought he fired the gun, but firmly insisted he never did.
WATCH | Doctor gives update on toddler's condition
At 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Dr. Marcelo Malakooti, associate chief medical officer and medical director for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Lurie Children's, said some of the sedation has been lifted to give doctors a better idea of how the boy is doing.
"We are pleased to see Kayden make some recovery as he is demonstrating some return in brain activity. While it is still very early to make any meaningful prediction about his total recovery, we are optimistic about the clinical signs we are seeing," Malakooti said. "We are still in an essential time window to gauge what the path ahead shows however."
Doctors said they are cautiously hopeful for the toddler's recovery, but note that with this type of severe brain injury, conditions can change rapidly.
The confrontation started on Lake Shore Drive near Waldron and ended in a crash at Monroe.
Chicago police said shots were first fired on Lake Shore Drive near the Shedd Aquarium just after 11 a.m. Tuesday and continued for two blocks.
"It's astounding to me that people have so little regard for human life in general," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. "It's particularly astounding to me when people have so little regard to human life, when there are children as passengers in cars, as we saw yesterday."
Investigators say the shooting may have started as a road rage incident.
"There was a dispute possibly over not letting somebody into a lane of traffic," Chicago police Cmdr. Jacob Alderden said.
A good Samaritan driving by the scene rushed the boy to Lurie Children's Hospital.
WATCH | Chicago police give update after toddler shot on Lake Shore Drive
Police have not given any other details about the driver of the other vehicle. A handgun was recovered from the vehicle that the child was in.
Community activists, led by Ja'Mal Green, are offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
"We need to bring this horrible person to justice," said Green.