A woman accused of shooting a gay man inside a Columbia Heights IHOP Restaurant in March rejected a plea deal this morning, sending her case to a grand jury, who will determine whether the charge of one count of aggravated assault while armed may proceed to trial.
The accused, LaShawn Carson, 27, of D.C., remains under home confinement at her mother’s District residence as she awaits trial. Appearing in D.C. Superior Court before Judge J. Michael Ryan, Carson’s lawyer, Patrick J. Christmas, told Ryan that Carson, a pregnant mother of two, had complied with the conditions of her release under a high-intensity supervision program and had tested negative for drugs during her first month under home confinement.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Dickie told Ryan that the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia had offered a plea deal to Carson, in which she would plead guilty to a charge of aggravated assault while armed, and the government, in return, would waive any enhancements to that charge. Examples of enhancements could range from possessing a firearm during a crime of violence to bias – aka hate crime – charges.
Speaking on behalf of Carson, Christmas said his client rejected the government’s plea deal and agreed to send the case to the grand jury.
According to charging documents, Carson and two companions were at the IHOP in the early morning hours of March 11 when they allegedly began taunting a gay man and his companions using homophobic slurs. From there, a physical confrontation erupted between the victim and one of Carson’s companions.
According to witnesses, the victim and the other man were being separated by an off-duty police officer when a gun was fired and Carson and her two companions fled the restaurant. Carson was arrested March 26 following an investigation.
The victim, who was shot in the abdomen, was transported to Washington MedStar Hospital, where he was treated and later released.