Woman charged in fatal knife attack at Englewood grocery store

Towanda Price allegedly attacked 36-year-old Michael McGown with a pocketknife during an argument.

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Towanda Price allegedly attacked 36-year-old Michael McGown with a pocketknife during an argument.

Towanda Price allegedly attacked 36-year-old Michael McGown with a pocketknife during an argument.

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A 41-year-old mother of two with a history of violence fatally slashed a man with a pocketknife during a brawl in the aisles of an Englewood grocery store, Cook County prosecutors said Monday.

Towanda Price and alleged victim Michael McGown were regular customers at Englewood Food Mart, according to a store owner who witnessed Friday night’s attack, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

Price was already inside the store, at 6057 S. Racine Ave., when McGown entered around 8:30 p.m. and two began arguing loudly.

Towanda Price

Towanda Price

Chicago police

Price then shoved McGown in the chest and kicked him, before pulling a knife from her jacket and slashing him in the arm, Murphy said, describing the scene as it played out on the “tremendous” video surveillance footage from multiple cameras inside the store.

Price dropped into a “fighting stance,” gripping the knife and yelling at McGown, Murphy said. McGown pulled away, then said to Price, “You stabbed me in the arm,” and kicked at her, missing. Price then allegedly charged at 36-year-old McGown, slashing at his face.

Bleeding, McGown stumbled backward, and fell. Another customer tried to help him up, as Price paced back and forth, yelling, as she put the knife back in her pocket, Murphy said. As he got up, blood began “gushing” from McGown’s wound and he stumbled against a refrigerator in the next aisle. Price allegedly walked up to McGown, grabbed him by the coat, and threw him to the ground, got on top of him and continued yelling at him.

Price ended up leaving the store, and was arrested about a block away, with a bloody pocketknife in her pocket, Murphy said, adding that McGown was unarmed.

Price told police she cut McGown with the knife, but said that he attacked her first — an account Murphy said was not backed up by surveillance videos. McGown was pronounced dead at University of Chicago Hospital, having suffered a severed carotid artery at the side of his jaw.

The pair “know each other, they hung out with each other,” a manager at the Englewood Market told a Chicago Sun-Times reporter Friday. “I can’t understand it.”

Price was ordered held without bond Monday for first-degree murder.

She was convicted of a misdemeanor count of aggravated assault with a knife in 2001, and was charged with another misdemeanor battery in 2018. In the 2018 arrest, she allegedly stabbed the victim with a screwdriver, but the witness did not cooperate with the investigation and the charges were dropped.

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