Lashun Rodgers, a 41-year-old grandmother and local volunteer in Orlando, was at a Memorial Day barbecue in her apartment complex’s courtyard when a woman arrived with her daughter — sparking an altercation that quickly turned deadly, witnesses told police.
At one point in the fight, the second woman, 31-year-old Lakrisha Isaac, handed her daughter a purse that contained a pistol, according to the affidavit. As the altercation continued, police say, the 10-year-old fired two shots, striking Rodgers in the head.
A witness told police Isaac yelled, “You done shot the lady!” Then the witness heard the child scream: “You shouldn’t have messed with my momma!”
Mother charged after 2-year-old finds gun, fatally shoots his father
Rodgers died in the shooting, which has left prosecutors grappling with how to proceed because of the suspect’s age.
“This shooting is an unimaginable tragedy that defies easy solutions,” Florida Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Monique H. Worrell said in a statement Tuesday. “Our office will proceed with care, and our primary focus will be on doing whatever we can to support Ms. Rodgers’s family, protect the public, and improve the health of this child going forward.”
The girl — who hasn’t been publicly named because of her age — was reportedly arrested Tuesday and could face a charge of second-degree murder, according to ClickOrlando.com, although Worrell made clear that prosecutors have not yet decided whether they will proceed with a case against her. Isaac, who’s still in custody, is also facing a slew of charges, including manslaughter by culpable negligence, aggravated assault with a firearm, child neglect and negligent storage of a firearm, according to an arrest affidavit.
Latisha George, Isaac’s lawyer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post early Wednesday. It’s not immediately clear whether a lawyer is representing Isaac’s 10-year-old daughter.
The Memorial Day celebration was cut short by the fatal altercation shortly before midnight on May 30. After the 10-year-old allegedly fired the gun, Isaac took the weapon from the girl and “showed no remorse or care for the injury sustained by Rodgers” as Isaac and her daughter walked back to their residence, police wrote in the affidavit.
‘When it’s a shooting on a city street, nothing happens’
When officials arrived, they “observed a pool of blood on the ground and two spent shell casings.” Rodgers was transported to the Orlando Regional Medical Center, but she died shortly after midnight. Police then tried to piece together the story by interviewing neighbors, the little girl and her mother.
The child told officers her mother “wanted to approach [Rodgers] to speak ‘woman to woman,’ ” according to the affidavit. She said she had seen Rodgers cut her mother’s head with a rock during the fight, though Isaac later told police she hadn’t been struck or cut. The girl added that she had heard Rodgers threatening to “bring her family to jump” Isaac.
“When [the 10-year-old] heard this, she said she became angry, due to having anger issues,” the affidavit states. “She shot one time and saw Rodgers fall down. [The girl] knew she struck Rodgers in the head and stated she was aware Rodgers was deceased after the shooting.”
In the community, the shooting — compounded by the alleged involvement of a child — has reverberated deeply.
The shooting took place just days after the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida said a 2-year-old fatally shot his dad. The toddler’s mother was charged with manslaughter by culpable negligence, as well as possession of a firearm by a felon.
A vase filled with pink flowers, a candle, a cross and a slew of messages mark the spot where Rodgers, also known as “Bones,” was shot and killed. The night of her death, Rodgers’s family and friends gathered at that makeshift memorial, ClickOrlando.com reported, to grieve the loss of “an awesome woman,” her best friend, Stacey Johnson, told the outlet.
“I know multiple constituents who personally knew both the young girl and [Rodgers],” Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill said, according to the news site. “And everyone’s heart is broken.”
The girl’s age and the circumstances leading to Rodgers’s death will be taken into account when making a charging decision, Worrell, the state attorney, said in her statement. Whatever the decision, she wrote, it “will ensure she receives the interventions necessary to address her behavior, help her change and grow, and ensure the public’s safety going forward.”
“This is one of the most tragic cases I have seen in my 22-year career,” Worrell added.