Democratic Candidate Reportedly Charged With Reckless Use of a Firearm
A Democrat Iowa House candidate claims she accidentally shot a sliding glass door with a Glock 11 belonging to her partner.
Sonya Heitshusen, 55, is running for Iowa House District 28 and her partner is an officer with the Des Moines police department, according to a Des Moines Register report. Ms. Heitshusen “admitted to having a couple drinks prior to the incident,” before handling her partner’s gun around 11 p.m. on June 27, according to a West Des Moines police report.
The candidate was formerly a news anchor for WHO-TV and claimed, in a statement, that she received threats over the years stemming from her role as a journalist. She said the threats continued after she became a candidate for office, the report noted.
Ms. Heitshusen explained that in light of the threats, and because her partner is a police officer she said, “There are firearms in our home for personal protection.”
“I’ve received ongoing threatening messages on social media,” she said in her statement to police. “Knowing my partner was leaving town for an extended period of time, I checked one of the firearms, and while checking it, an accidental discharge of the firearm occurred.”
The police complaint relates that Heitshusen told officers “that as she was placing the handgun onto the kitchen table, she pulled the trigger, discharging it.”
“No one was hurt and no property was damaged other than my own,” Heitshusen stated. “I take full responsibility for the accident and we reported it to the police.”
Reckless use of a firearm causing property damage where no bodily injury occurs is an aggravated misdemeanor, in Iowa, carrying a maximum two-year sentence upon conviction.
Grant Woodard, her attorney, appeared before a Des Moines judge Tuesday. Mr. Woodard declined to comment when a reporter telephoned Thursday, so is unclear when her next hearing is scheduled.
A telephone request for comment was not immediately returned by West Des Moines Public Information Officer Sergeant Jason Heintz.