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.