Man wanted to buy drugs and instead was shot by ‘Howie Da G’ at Lawrence McDonald’s, court documents allege

photo by: Sarah Baker

First responders work the scene at McDonald's, 1309 W. Sixth St., just before 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 following reports of a possible shooting.

A Lawrence man reportedly went to a fast food restaurant’s parking lot to buy drugs, but he ended up getting shot by a man known as “Howie Da G,” court documents allege.

Lawrence police were dispatched to McDonald’s, 1309 W. Sixth St., at 6:25 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, regarding a man being shot in the stomach. There they found a 50-year-old man with “significant injuries” from a gunshot, police have said.

Howard C. Levite Jr., 27, of Leavenworth, was arrested on unrelated charges on Nov. 1 in Jackson County, Mo., the Journal-World reported. He was booked into the Douglas County Jail on Nov. 6 and charged the next day with aggravated battery and attempted aggravated robbery, both midlevel-severity felonies.

“Howie Da G” appears to be Levite’s stage name. He has several rap tracks listed on Spotify and Apple Music, as well as some YouTube music videos.

The Journal-World requested and recently received the police affidavit supporting Levite’s arrest. Allegations in affidavits have not been proved in court, and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has declined to release Levite’s booking photo to the Journal-World.

According to the affidavit:

After he was out of surgery at Stormont Vail hospital in Topeka, the 50-year-old man reportedly told police he’d arranged to meet up with a 37-year-old woman at the McDonald’s parking lot so he could buy some pills. Once he arrived, he parked on the west side of the building and called the woman to let her know he was there. Then, he said, a man — later identified as Levite — got into the passenger seat of his car.

The victim told police he told Levite to show him the pills before he’d pay him, and then Levite pointed a gun at him and demanded he hand over his money. The victim said he refused and pushed the gun away so it wasn’t pointed at him.

The victim said Levite then got out of the car, pointed the gun at him and pulled the trigger, but the gun didn’t fire. Then he pulled the slide back and pulled the trigger again. The bullet traveled through the victim’s belly and through the driver’s door, according to the affidavit. Then, the man said, he drove his car to the area of the restaurant’s drive-thru and yelled that he had been shot.

Witnesses reportedly told police they’d heard a “pop” or a gunshot, and one witness said she saw a man run to the east through the parking lot and get into a maroon vehicle.

Police reportedly found a spent .40-caliber shell near the outdoor trashcan, where one witness said she had seen Levite standing with a gun.

Surveillance video from the restaurant does not show the shooting, but reportedly does show Levite fleeing to the east and getting into the car. Its license plate, picked up on a reader at a nearby intersection a few minutes later, is registered to the woman whom the victim was planning to meet, the affidavit says.

When detectives interviewed the woman the next day, she reportedly told them she had agreed to meet with the victim so that her friend could sell him some pills. She said she only knew the friend by the name Howie, or “Howie Da G” on Facebook, and she had driven him and his girlfriend to Lawrence from Leavenworth.

photo by: Jackson County Sheriff’s Office

Howard C. Levite, pictured in 2019

The woman said she saw Howie — Levite — get into the victim’s car, and then she heard a gunshot. She told police that Levite then got into the back passenger seat of her car and held the gun to her head. She denied knowing that the victim was going to be robbed or shot, according to the affidavit.

The woman allowed police to search her cellphone. Levite had reportedly texted the woman around 11:30 a.m. that day to say he was eating at The Depot, a restaurant in Leavenworth about 35 miles from Lawrence, and he’d come out when she pulled up.

The detective wrote in the affidavit that he found a post on the Facebook page of “Howie Da G” that showed a receipt from The Depot from around the same time. In the public post the affidavit references, Levite was thanking a woman who had anonymously paid his $36 tab.

Levite had also texted the woman at 6:17 and 6:18 p.m., just prior to the time the shooting was dispatched to police: “I think he pull in” and “Tell him u gone tell me to come out”, respectively, according to the affidavit. Then at 6:18 p.m., the woman had called the victim.

The detective matched Levite’s Facebook photos with his Kansas ID card, according to the affidavit, and on Oct. 29 he requested that a warrant be issued for Levite’s arrest.

At his first appearance, Levite’s bond was set at $75,000 cash or surety, despite his plea for it to be lowered because his daughter is going to be born next month. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 4.

Police said within a few days of the shooting that the victim was expected to make a full recovery.

Contact Mackenzie Clark

Have a story idea, news or information to share? Contact public safety reporter Mackenzie Clark:


Related coverage

Nov. 7, 2019: Leavenworth man charged in connection with shooting at Lawrence McDonald’s

Nov. 6, 2019: Leavenworth man arrested in connection with shooting at Lawrence McDonald’s

Oct. 28, 2019: Victim of shooting at Lawrence McDonald’s expected to recover; investigation still underway

Oct. 26, 2019: Shooting injures 1 at Lawrence McDonald’s; police seek suspect

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