IHOP Shooting Suspect Arraigned

LaShawn Carson, accused of shooting gay man, heads to trial as good behavior results in less severe release terms

The Washington woman accused of shooting a gay man at an IHOP restaurant in Columbia Heights last year, during an altercation where she and two friends allegedly made derogatory comments toward the man and his companions, was arraigned on seven charges Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court.

LaShawn Carson, who was indicted on seven different charges Feb. 6, was arraigned on a count of aggravated assault while knowingly armed; one count of assault with a dangerous weapon; two counts of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence; one count of unlawful possession of a firearm; one count of unlawful possession of ammunition; and one count of carrying a pistol without a license.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Michael Ryan scheduled Carson to go to trial June 6, more than 14 months after she was first arrested for her alleged role in the IHOP shooting.

Carson’s lawyer, Patrick J. Christmas II, asked that the terms of Carson’s release be reduced in severity due to good behavior. Ryan granted the request by changing the terms of Carson’s release from home confinement to high-intensity supervision, noting that Carson had been in ”perfect compliance,” with no drug-testing violations, curfew violations or failures to report to authorities, according to a Feb. 13 report from the court’s Pretrial Services Agency (PSA), which monitors and tracks defendants awaiting trial.

Under the previous release conditions, Carson was allowed out of her home only for work, otherwise confined to her Columbia Heights apartment. The new conditions do not subject her to home confinement, though Carson will still have a court-imposed curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. when she cannot leave her home. A court order requiring her to stay away from the victim remains in effect.

According to charging documents, Carson and her two companions were in the IHOP during the early morning hours of March 11, 2012, when they allegedly began taunting the gay victim and his companions. A physical confrontation ensued between the victim and one of Carson’s acquaintances. The two men were being separated by an off-duty police officer when a gun was fired, the victim was shot and Carson and her two companions fled the scene.

Carson was arrested March 26, 2012, following a two-week investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department. The victim, who sustained injuries to his abdomen, was transported to Washington MedStar Hospital, treated and released.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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