District of Columbia officials on Monday afternoon announced that a 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the shooting of a gay man inside a Columbia Heights IHOP earlier this month.
D.C. Police Chief Kathy Lanier identified the suspect as LaShawn Carson during a press conference with Mayor Vincent Gray. Carson, 27, has been charged with aggravated assault while armed for allegedly shooting the 31-year-old victim in the abdomen early on March 11.
“I am pleased and relieved to announce that a suspect in this dastardly crime has been arrested,” said Gray. “As I said at the time of the shooting, while all crime is horrific and destructive to the fabric of our community, hate crimes are particularly insidious, because they instill fear in an entire group. All of our residents should have the right to walk the streets of our neighborhoods free of fear that they will be targeted because of their identities, beliefs or characteristics.”
Carson’s arrest comes less than a week after Lanier, D.C. Councilmembers Jim Graham and Muriel Bowser and Jeffrey Richardson, director of the District of Columbia Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs, and hundreds of others took part in a march against the IHOP shooting and two other attacks against LGBT Washingtonians that took place within the same 48 hour period.
Three unknown men attacked a 29-year-old gay man on Georgia Avenue, N.W., on March 12. A transgender woman was attacked at the intersection of West Virgina Avenue and Mt. Olivet Road, N.E., less than three hours later.