Supporters are showing up on social media and in court for a Maryland woman accused of shooting and wounding her husband after she claimed he had molested children at her Baltimore-area daycare center.
Around a dozen people gathered at the courtroom for 50-year-old Shanteari Weems’ appearance on Monday, hoping for her release as she awaits trial. Her legal team was granted a continuance in the case, and her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Law enforcement said Weems admitted to shooting her husband, James Weems Jr., in the Washington, D.C., Mandarin Oriental hotel last week with the intention of only wounding him. Police explained that they found notes detailing Weems’ intent to shoot her husband, “but not kill him.” One message read, “I want [victim’s name] to face the world as scum. I hope [he] gets beat up in jail.”
On Tuesday, an arrest warrant was issued for James Weems Jr., a former Baltimore City police officer, as he recovers in the hospital. He faces multiple charges related to the child abuse allegations, WUSA 9 reported.
Along with support for Weems in court, a #FreeShanteari hashtag has surfaced on social media platforms like TikTok and Twitter. Some people are reportedly asking how they can help with her legal expenses. Several GoFundMe pages were created for Weems but were later taken down.
Authorities were called to a domestic dispute that ended with the shooting at the D.C. hotel Thursday night, finding Weems barricading herself in a hotel room with her wounded husband, ABC7 reported.
The two remained in the room for nearly an hour, prompting evacuations of the hotel. A tactical team of police officers eventually forced their way in and found Weems and her wounded husband, along with a firearm in her purse and another gun in an unlocked safe, according to The Washington Post.
Weems admitted to police that she shot her husband, telling them when they arrived on the scene, “f*** him, he’s a child molester,” according to court documents. The filings further detailed that Weems told police that children at her daycare center claimed that her husband was molesting them.
She was arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department and charged with assault with intent to kill, assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm without a license, and possession of an unregistered firearm.
Weems’ husband reportedly sustained wounds to his head and leg, but they appeared to be non-life threatening. The couple has been married for five years.
Baltimore County Police Sgt. Gladys Brown said detectives were monitoring the developments and that the Maryland daycare center would be closed during the investigation.