An Erie woman accused by Erie police of attempting to kill her estranged husband and his girlfriend during a confrontation at a fast-food restaurant in December 2021 told an Erie County judge on Monday that she "acted on rage" when she pulled out a gun and fired it at the couple.
No one was shot, and attempts to fire the gun again were thwarted when the weapon malfunctioned, according to Erie police and prosecutors. The accused, 33-year-old Shawna Ellis, then used the gun to beat the woman, who went to a hospital for treatment, according to investigators.
More:Erie police charge woman with trying to kill ex-boyfriend, woman at McDonald's
Ellis initially faced charges including two counts of attempted homicide in the Dec. 30, 2021, incident at the McDonald's at 4319 Peach St. She pleaded guilty on Nov. 7 to a first-degree felony count of criminal attempt at aggravated assault under an agreement in which prosecutors and Ellis' lawyer, Erie County Assistant Public Defender Michael DeJohn, recommended a sentence of 5½ to 11 years in prison.
Erie County Judge Daniel Brabender strayed from the recommendation on Monday morning, sentencing Ellis instead to five to 10 years in prison, which was still in the aggravated range. Ellis was given credit for the more than a year she has been jailed since her arraignment on Dec. 31, 2021.
Armed confrontation and shooting
Erie police wrote in Ellis' criminal complaint that they were told by her estranged husband and his girlfriend that they were eating at McDonald's when Ellis entered the restaurant, pulled out a handgun and ordered the pair to go outside. Investigators said Ellis threatened to kill the two and fired one round from the gun, missing them.
Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Lightner told Brabender that Ellis' actions that day were inexcusable, and noted that she had fired gunshots at a residence before finding the pair at McDonald's. He said the incident at the restaurant was captured on video, and it was shocking how close Ellis was standing to the woman when she fired the gun.
It was also "somewhat surprising" that Ellis missed, Lightner said.
DeJohn told Brabender that Ellis, who has three children, accepts 100% responsibility for her actions that day. He said Ellis saw her estranged husband out with another woman and "she could not handle it."
Ellis said there was really no excuse for her actions, and she could not imagine ever doing something like that. It was all based on rage, she told Brabender.
Ellis also told the judge that she is not a criminal.
"Unfortunately, I made a big mistake," she said.
Contact Tim Hahn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ETNhahn.
This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Erie woman sentenced for shooting at estranged husband, girlfriend