A Virginia woman who fired a legally-owned handgun into the air to scare away a group of boys who were attacking her daughter was arrested by local police Saturday for reckless use of a weapon.
A day after the mother’s “reckless” attempt to protect her daughter – whom one of the boys had begun punching in the face before she decided to fire a single warning shot – the 15 year-old girl went missing.
The mom, 35 year-old Lakisha Gaither, said she was simply trying to protect her daughter without hurting anyone.
From The Washington Times’ original story:
“I just wanted this group of guys to disperse,” Ms. Gaither said. “I didn’t know what they were going to do. I wanted him to stop hitting my child.”
The shooting occurred at 9:20 p.m. in the 13600 block of Cridercrest Place. After confronting a teenage girl and her mother in the neighborhood over a prior disagreement, Ms. Gaither and her 15-year-old daughter, Brianna Stewart, began walking home. A group of about 10 boys approached them in the parking lot of their apartment complex. One boy began to swear and insult Ms. Gaither and her daughter, who stood up to the boy.
“The two were face to face,” Ms. Gaither said. “He grabs her shirt, she goes to push him off her.”
Ms. Gaither said she realized she’d be putting the both of them at risk if she jumped into the fray.
“I stopped and turned to walk to the middle of the parking lot. I made sure no one was around me,” she said. “I unholstered my gun, pointed it straight in the air and fired just one shot to get him off my child.”
Ms. Gaither said she didn’t try to get away, and police eventually arrived.
“I didn’t feel like I was wrong,” she said. “I wanted to protect my child.”
But officers arrested her and charged her with reckless use of a weapon.
Effective though the maneuver was, police got their pound of flesh. A police spokesman said Ms. Gaither “should have called police instead of taking matters into her own hands.”
Now Gaither has to contend with a missing child. She had sent her daughter, 15 year-old Brianna Stewart, to stay with her grandmother after the incident because she feared for the young woman’s safety in the immediate aftermath. She disappeared the next day and still hasn’t been found. It’s not known whether her attackers had anything to do with her disappearance.