A 30-year-old Maryland woman is facing attempted murder charges after police say she shot her husband and their 7-year-old son on Saturday during a domestic dispute.
Erica Shifflett was trying to take her son from a home in Dundalk when the incident occurred, the Baltimore Sun reports. Her son and 31-year-old husband, Russell Shifflett III, were both hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Court records show she was charged with attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and use of a firearm during a felony violent crime.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Shifflett Opened Fire While Her Husband Tried to Take Her Son Inside a House, Police Say
The incident occurred at about 7 p.m. Saturday when Erica Shifflett was trying to remove her 7-year-old son from the custody of her husband, Baltimore County Police say. When he tried to take the boy back into his house, she opened fire with a .38-caliber revolver, police told WMAR-TV.
“This is a horrific incident. They were arguing over the son, she wanted to take him, he didn’t want her to take him and instead of working it out between them she pulled out a gun and started shooting,” Baltimore County Police Corporal John Wachter told the news station.
Russell Shifflett, her husband, was shot in the arm, WBAL-TV reports. The boy was shot in the hand and waist, police said.
Erica Shifflett told police she didn’t want to shoot anyone, according to court documents.
“Erica Nicole Shifflett stated that she did not intend to shoot anyone, which was not consistent with the witnesses’ accounts of the event,” police said in the report, according to WBAL.
2. She Was Taken to the Ground by Family Members & Held Until Police Arrived
Erica Shifflett was taken to the ground by family members and held until police arrived, WBAL-TV reports.
Her husband and son were taken to the hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries. She was being held without bail and was also taken to a hospital for unknown reasons.
“So I went over to the porch where Kenny and the son were shot to see if I could help them out any but they already had a tourniquet on his arm. He got shot through the wrist, the father did, and then the little boy got shot through the wrist and the side,” neighbor Larry Weber told WMAR-TV.
3. She Was Put on Probation in January After a 2015 Drug Arrest
Erica Shifflett was arrested September 1, 2015, on a charge of possession of a controlled dangerous substance. The online court records lists the charge as “not marijuana,” but does not specify what the substance was.
She pleaded not guilty and was then granted probation before judgement on January 20. She was placed on probation until January 2017.
She does not appear to have any other criminal record, except for traffic offenses.
4. Her Husband Was Issued a Temporary Restraining Order Against Her Last Year
A temporary restraining order was filed against Erica Shifflett’s husband, Russell Shifflett, on July 9, 2015, ordering he “shall not abuse,” and “shall not contact” his wife, according to online court records. It also barred him from entering his residence. On July 17, 2015, the order was lifted after Erica Shifflett requested for it to be dismissed.
Details of what led to the restraining order being filed were not immediately available.
Their neighbor, Larry Weber, told WMAR-TV that the couple had been having marital issues.
“From what I understand, he made her go down to her dad’s house. I guess they weren’t getting a long too good, so she went to come up and take her kid,” Larry Weber told the news station.
They have been married for seven years as of February.
“Wan’t to wish my awesome wife a happy 6 year anniversary,” Russell Shifflett wrote on his Facebook page in February 2015. “You are a great wife and awesome mother. Without you in are life’s we be completely lost. Love you baby and hope you have a wonderful day.”
They had posted photos together in November 2015, a few months after the restraining order was lifted.
5. She & Her Husband Are Supporters of Open-Carry & Other Pro-Gun Causes
Russell Shifflett has often posted about guns on his Facebook page, and Erica Shifflett liked several of his posts. He also posted photos of hunting trips with his son.
He is a supporter of open carry, and signed a petition against Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s gun laws.
In December he shared a photo saying, “Better to be judged by twelve than to be carried by six. Protect your 2nd Amendment right.” He also shared a photo saying, “The only way to stop mass shootings is to allow constitutional open-carry in the entire United States.”
It is not known if Erica Shifflett legally owned the gun she is accused of using in the shooting or if it belonged to her husband.
“This is not the way to solve anything. Guns don’t solve anything, they just make things worse. Instead of choosing to talk about it, resolve it or maybe go get an attorney and resolve it in court, she chose to pull out a gun and endanger not only her son, but her son’s father,” Baltimore County Corporal John Wachter told WBAL-TV about the shooting.