March 30, 2012 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Video shows woman shot IHOP victim after scuffle stopped

The International House of Pancakes restaurant in Columbia Heights (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A video recording shows that the woman charged in the March 11 shooting of a gay man at the International House of Pancakes restaurant in Columbia Heights fired a handgun at the victim after an off-duty police officer broke up a scuffle and separated two groups that were fighting, according to a police affidavit filed in court.

An attorney representing Lashawn Yvonne Carson, 27, who was charged on Monday with aggravated assault while armed in connection with the shooting, told a D.C. Superior Court judge on Thursday that Carson is pregnant and was experiencing a pregnancy related medical problem.

The attorney, Patrick J. Christmas, said during a court hearing that Carson’s medical issues could require medical attention while she’s being held in jail without bond pending a preliminary hearing now scheduled for April 11. The hearing had been scheduled for Thursday, March 29, but Judge Frederick Sullivan agreed to Christmas’s request to postpone the hearing.

Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Bickie agreed to Christmas’s request for the postponement.

The police affidavit was filed in court at the time of Carson’s arrest on March 26. It says a surveillance camera at the IHOP restaurant captured an altercation between Carson and a male friend and the victim and his friends that began inside the IHOP shortly before 6:30 a.m. on March 11.

The affidavit says the video surveillance recording was obtained and viewed by police investigators shortly before the arrest. It says the video shows what appears to be a verbal altercation between the victim and a male subject who was with Carson.

“Carson appears to be separating the complainant and the male subject,” it says. “The complainant then appears to throw a glass at the male subject and then appears to throw a punch at the male subject, which struck Carson in the face,” the affidavit says.

“At this a physical altercation ensued between the complainant, the male subject and Carson,” says the affidavit. “Other members of both parties began to engage in the fight. An off duty police officer intervened and separated the two parties from fighting,” it says.

“After the parties were separated, at the time stamped 06:27:17 to 06:27:20 on camera #6, Carson is seen standing near the window of the restaurant by what appears to be a hostess stand and firing a single shot that struck the complainant,” the affidavit says. “The complainant appears to grab his right abdomen and stumble back and fall to the ground. Carson and the male subject then fled out of the restaurant. Carson as seen on the footage is a black female wearing a black jacket and blue jeans.”

The affidavit reports that police interviewed Carson about the incident on March 24 and she admitted to shooting the victim. It says she stated she fired a single shot at the complainant after the physical altercation broke out between the two groups. But it doesn’t say whether she disputes the police observation that the video shows her firing the shot after the off duty police officer broke up the fight and separated the two parties.

Christmas did not respond to a call seeking comment.

Matt Jones, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office, said he couldn’t comment further on the details about the allegations in the case. However, he said the case is still under investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s office has the option of filing additional charges, including a possible illegal gun possession charge and charge designating the shooting as a hate crime.

D.C. police listed the incident as a hate crime related to the victim’s perceived or actual sexual orientation at the time of the incident was reported. Jones said the U.S. Attorney’s office routinely waits for the conclusion of its own investigation before making a decision on whether to add a bias related designation to a case. Such a designation could result in a greater sentence, including a longer prison term, upon conviction of a defendant in such cases.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

2 Comments
  • Soft-Pedaling Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes in DC…

    This story’s headline REPORTS a very good, scrupulously fair summary.

    But let us ask, or at least consider a few more questions of MPD (and by necessary extension, USAO-DC)– with a community’s justified growing frustration…

    How is the motive for firing a potentially lethal bullet at a gay man, after a violent confrontation has been significantly abated (by a courageous off-duty police officer, BTW) NOT reasonably considered a ‘hate crime’ — i.e., ‘bias-related’ as prescribed by long-standing, well-settled DC law?

    Has MPD, under its current leadership, developed a routine bias of its own against enforcing DC’s Bias-Related Crimes Act– also a federal responsibility, in this MOST FEDERAL of all U.S. districts?

    What about USAO-DC under Holder’s vs. Reno’s view of hate crimes enforcement by USDOJ?

    Why MPD’s rush-to-judgment against a ‘hate’/ bias’ motive in the GA. Avenue case? The victim in that case has been clearly reporting TWO separate incidents, in time, and after being violent dragged there– at a secondary place, with at least one assault likely being PRIMARILY anti-gay ‘hate’ (‘bias-related’). The victim also reports likely TWO different sets of assailants. Why is MPD ignoring those facts?

    Has MPD categorized that ‘GA. & Irving’ case as an “aggravated assault” like the IHOP case? With a bias motive? The elements appear to be there.

    In the third hate crime (IMHO) against a LGBT victim that week, why has MPD failed to report their specific efforts to investigate the assault of a trans woman on WV and Mt. Olivet Road, NE (who also required hospitalization)? A MPD spokesperson promised information as to why that violent assault– irrespective of its motive– was NOT INCLUDED in MPD’s Daily Crime Reports published on the MPD-5D listserv. Why hasn’t MPD done so, as of this late date? Why the seeming coverup? Indeed, why hasn’t the Chief of Police addressed an appearance of official malfeasance in that case?

    Time and again, in word and deed, we see MPD, under Chief Lanier, applying a soft-pedal and making excuses for not enforcing DC’s tough Bias-Related Crimes Act on behalf of many LGBT victims of violent crimes. Why?

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