WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — A Democratic candidate for the Iowa House will appear in court later this month on a charge of reckless use of a firearm.

House District 28 candidate Sonya Heitshusen was charged in connection with the incident that happened on June 27th at her West Des Moines home. The criminal complaint in the case said, “as she was placing the handgun onto the kitchen table, she pulled the trigger, discharging it.”

Police say the bullet went through a glass sliding door and no one was injured.

Heitshusen entered a written plea of not guilty Wednesday. 

She provided a statement to WHO 13 about the incident.

“As a broadcast journalist and now a candidate running for office, I have received a variety of general and specific threats to my personal safety over the years.  As a result of threats and my partner being a police officer, there are firearms in our home for personal protection.

I’ve received ongoing threatening messages on social media.  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. 

No one was hurt and no property was damaged other than my own.  I take full responsibility for the accident and we reported it to the police.  I look forward to this matter being resolved quickly.”

Sonya Heitshusen

Heitshusen previously worked as a news anchor and reporter at WHO 13 and WOI in the Des Moines metro. She is now the Public Information Officer for the Iowa State Auditor’s Office.

A statement from Heitshusen’s attorney Grant Woodard said, “The charges are baseless. No crime was committed. Ms. Heitshusen will be exonerated.”

She’s scheduled to be back in court on July 18th.