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Suspect Arrested In Hate-Fueled IHOP Shooting

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A shooting at the Columbia Heights IHOP earlier in March was said to be motivated by hatred against the LGBT community.
Photo by Mr. T in DC http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/5207226212/lightbox/
A shooting at the Columbia Heights IHOP earlier in March was said to be motivated by hatred against the LGBT community.

D.C. police have arrested a 27-year-old woman in connection with the shooting at an IHOP restaurant earlier this month that some city officials are labeling a hate crime.

LaShawn Carson has been charged with aggravated assault while armed. Police say the male victim in the shooting -- who is now recovering -- was subjected to anti-gay harassment, but at this point, the incident cannot technically be called a hate crime. That will be determined by prosecutors.

The shooting was the latest incident in a string of attacks that authorities say appear to target members of the District's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Last week, hundreds came out for a march through the streets of Washington calling for action on the violence against LGBT people.

And yesterday at the Wilson Building, DC Mayor Vincent Gray gathered the police chief and other city leaders to announce the arrest.

"Crimes of this nature cannot, will not, be tolerated in the District of Columbia," Gray said. "All of our residents have the right to walk our streets free of the fear they will be targeted simply because of who they are, whom they love, or the way they choose to worship.

Council member Jim Graham repeatedly called the arrest a great relief. "It's a relief, because this was a horrendous hate crime," Graham said.

Prosecutors will determine the formal charges against Carson in the coming days and weeks. 


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