Owings Mills Daycare Owner Who Shot Her Husband Details Her Perspective During Interview With WUSA
OWINGS MILLS - Shanteari Weems, the Owings Mills woman who shot her husband last summer over allegations that he sexually abused children at her daycare, gave rare insight into her motivations during an interview with WUSA.
Weems is speaking out for the first time since a D.C. judge suddenly sentenced her to four years in jail. Her sentence was twice as long as the one initially recommended by prosecutors through a plea deal.
In the interview, Weems described herself as a woman on a crusade to save children. She said she thought her husband was her partner in this endeavor before learning of the allegations.
Exactly how much Weems knew about the allegations before shooting her husband was a critical factor in her case. Asst. U.S. Attorney La Vater Massie-Banks stated that police had informed Weems that her husband was under investigation days before the shooting.
According to Weems, the situation was not so cut and dry. She said the police provided only vague information and did not inform her that her husband was the subject of the investigation.
"The only person I had to find out information from was my husband," she told WUSA. "And he kept saying he didn't do it ... I did believe him."
Weems said that her view changed after the mother of a child who had attended the daycare for years said they had to talk.
"I saw the pain in her face, and I knew she was not lying," Weems said. "She finally said it was my husband."
The daycare owner says that moment was the moment she broke.
"I felt like the blood had just drained out of my body because ... it was my husband," she told WUSA while holding back tears. "He was supposed to help me protect these children. He always told me he was my protector. So when I heard this, I just felt like – I just felt like my world had ended."
The feelings of betrayal swelled as Weems considered whether she could have prevented the abuse.
"We were both supposed to be on this crusade of saving children, and child molestation is something that we had talked about all the time, how horrible it was," she said. "I think about that child all the time. I think about all the children all the time."
On July 21, she took her first drink in 20 years, texted her business partner, "I'm going to kill him and then myself." and drove to the former Mandarin Oriental Hotel in D.C to confront her husband.
Weems said that the situation quickly escalated, with both parties adding fuel to the fire.
"The situation was kind of like a fire," Weems said. "He was fuel. I was fuel ... We poured fuel on that fire. We just got to arguing, fussing, and one thing led to another."
Her husband, former Baltimore Police Officer James Weems, left the hotel that day with gunshot wounds to the neck and body. He has since been indicted on 21 counts of rape and sexually abusing minors.
Weems told WUSA that she is sorry for what she did but will not apologize until her husband apologizes to the children he harmed.
She filed for divorce in February and has been fully cooperating with Baltimore County investigators.
Since the sentencing, the internet has been ablaze with support for Weems. Using the hashtag #FREESHANTEARI, supporters have characterized her actions as just.
During the interview, Weems was asked about how she is faring behind bars.
"Despite my surroundings, I'm doing OK," Shanteari Weems told WUSA. "I have a lot of supporters and people who uplift me and help me survive."