D.C. Police Announce Arrest in Shooting of Gay Man in IHOP

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.


Marchers gather outside the Columbia Heights IHOP in which a 31-year-old gay man was shot in the abdomen early on March 11.


Marchers gather outside the Columbia Heights IHOP in which a 31-year-old gay man was shot in the abdomen early on March 11.


D.C. Police Chief Cathy Ranier prepares to speak to marchers outside the Columbia Heights IHOP.



D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham speaks outside the Columbia Heights IHOP.


Irving Avenue, N.W., residents show their support for the march.


Elected officials and march organizers pause in the intersection of Irving and Georgia Avenues, N.W.

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6 Responses to D.C. Police Announce Arrest in Shooting of Gay Man in IHOP

  1. Matt says:

    Nice photos. The turnout was really impressive tonight.

    I have to say, I’m disappointed that Cathy Lanier was given the chance to speak, and that she was applauded. This is the person who’s basically told transgender women that they make themselves unsafe by being out at night. Not to mention that it was an officer on her force who stood on the hood of a car and shot at the trans women inside last summer…

    I hope that she’s trying to improve things, but until there’s real progress, I don’t think that she deserves a place of honor at a rally like this.

  2. Mike in Canada says:

    Matt, don’t you think having Ms. Lanier attend and speak in support of the community is a huge step in the right direction if, indeed, some members of the local police force are homophobic? Don’t you think her presence would send a message to those officers?

    And, as much as you may not like it, Ms. Lanier is RIGHT, women, transgender or not, do make themselves unsafe by being out at night, it’s a fact! My parents taught my sisters that it was unsafe to be out at night, always travel in a group, call for a ride if it get too late, I’m sure you’ve heard all that advice before. I have a daughter and I teach her the same thing, Why then, is this suddenly an issue to attack Ms. Lanier’s credibility and commitment?

  3. Klubyou Taunt says:

    I am sorry Mike your argument that a woman is making herself unsafe by being out at night is like saying a woman is asking for sexual assault for wearing revealing clothing. I completely disagree with you on that! Cathy Lanier should focus on making the city safe morning, afternoon and night for people of all race, gender, religion and sexual orientation to walk around safely. NOT blame the victims. But lets not make this argument about that and applaud this amazing effort for what it was.
    Cathy Lanier….stop worrying about PR and work harder!

  4. Mike in Canada says:

    @ Klubyou Taunt,

    In a perfect world, you are absolutely right, but the world is not perfect and reality dictates that common sense has to apply. Is it fair? Of course it is not fair. Is it reality? Of course it is reality.

    The bottom line is, there’s a lot of places out there on the streets that are not a safe place to be for me too. I’m a pretty big guy, 220 lbs, 5-10, construction worker. I can “look after myself,” but common sense tells me there’s places that I’m not safe being. But I’m safer in a lot more places than a woman is. That’s completely not fair, but it’s reality.

    As for Cathy Lanier, I think she’s sincere in her intent and desire to keep all of the community safe. To demand perfection from her is to ignore the fact she is human and therefore she will have failures and successes. Personally, I like the strength based approach to helping. Support her efforts and encourage her to continue. Telling someone they’re not working hard enough is no way to encourage them to keep trying.

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