You would think that people would learn not to do this by now:

Lakisha Gaither shot a gun into the air to stop a fight involving her teenage daughter. That, no one disputes.

But just how dangerous the situation could have become, and whether the 35-year-old Woodbridge mother was justified in using the weapon, is where she and police now disagree.

The Washington Times reported Tuesday that Ms. Gaither was arrested and charged by Prince William County police with reckless use of a weapon, after she stood in the middle of her apartment complex parking lot and fired her handgun to scare away a teenage boy fighting her daughter.

But Prince William County police spokesman Officer Jonathan L. Perok said Thursday that after investigating the incident the reported “pummeling” of 15-year-old Brianna Stewart was neither one-sided nor was it a reason to fire a bullet into the air.

“It wasn’t a continued assault as far as what was reported to us,” Officer Perok said. “We didn’t have enough justification to press charges for that. The more pressing matter is the firearm being shot. Once you shoot a weapon, you own the bullet that comes out of that weapon. If you shoot that bullet into the air, you have no control over where it goes. There’s the risk of property damage, or hurting or killing someone. That defines reckless handling of a weapon.”

From a legal perspective, warning shots are never justified. Nor is shooting to wound.

If you fire a warning shot, or shooting to wound, you’re admitting to having discharged a weapon when deadly force was not needed.

Lakisha Gaither fired a weapon into the air with absolutely no idea where that bullet was going to land. This was dangerous, and according to Gaither’s own version of events, a crime, whether she likes it, or not.


Tags: Virginia