IHOP Shooting Trial Postponed

LaShawn Carson to be tried in September on seven counts related to Columbia Heights anti-gay incident

By John Riley
Published on June 6, 2013, 2:40pm | Comments

The trial of a Washington woman accused of shooting a gay man at an IHOP restaurant in March 2012 has been postponed to September, a year-and-a-half since she was officially charged.

LaShawn Carson, 28, faces seven charges related to the shooting: one 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; a count of unlawful possession of ammunition; one count of unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm; and a count of carrying a pistol without a license.

In D.C. Superior Court this morning, Judge Michael Ryan granted a motion filed last week by Carson's lawyer, Patrick J. Christmas, that converted Carson's previous trial date of June 6 to a status hearing. The motion was unopposed by prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, prompting Ryan to reschedule Carson's jury trial for Sept. 26.

Since her arrest and initial status hearing on March 26, 2012, Carson's case has encountered a number of delays, including a five-month delay from August 2012 to January 2013 where Carson never appeared in court, prompting Christmas to make a motion to dismiss the case for want of prosecution and for violating Carson's right to a speedy trial. A little more than a week later, the government was able to obtain an indictment of Carson on six more charges in addition to the initial count of aggravated assault while armed, allowing the prosecution to proceed with its case.

Carson remains released on high-intensity supervision, and, according to a report from the court's Pretrial Services Agency (PSA), has been in ''perfect compliance'' with the terms of her release. As part of her revised release conditions, Carson has a court-imposed curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The terms of her release also require her to avoid the shooting victim.

According to charging documents, Carson and two companions were in the IHOP Restaurant near the corner of 14th and Irving Streets NW during the early morning hours of March 11, 2012, when they began to harass and taunt a gay man and two of his companions. A physical confrontation ensued between the victim and one of Carson's friends. The two men were being separated by an off-duty officer of the Metropolitan Police Department when the victim was shot, prompting the suspects to flee the scene.

Carson was arrested and arraigned following a two-week investigation. In that time, hundreds of people took to D.C. streets to protest an apparent spike in attacks on members of the LGBT community.

The victim, who sustained injuries to his abdomen, was transported to Washington MedStar Hospital, treated and released.