The owner of a clothing boutique in Southern California was shot and died following a dispute over a rainbow Pride banner flying outside her establishment, according to authorities, as the LGBTQ+ community continues to endure threats and violence throughout America.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office said that Laura Ann “Lauri” Carleton, 66, passed away from a gunshot wound on Friday night inside her boutique, Mag.Pi, in Cedar Glen, roughly 80 miles east of Los Angeles.
Travis Ikeguchi, the suspected shooter, was killed in a shootout with deputies after he fled the scene of the initial shooting, according to authorities. Ikeguchi had torn down the flag and yelled “many homophobic slurs” toward Carleton before shooting her when she confronted him, according to Sheriff Shannon Dicus.
Prior to shooting Carleton, Ikeguchi allegedly made “several disparaging remarks” about the flag, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, there will be “an unprecedented wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in 2023,” coupled with threats and violent acts against LGBTQ+ persons and those who support them.
“Americans who identify as LGBTQ+ are experiencing a crisis. When the group announced a nationwide state of emergency for the community in June, Kelley Robinson, its president, warned that the growing risks that millions of people in our community face are not simply perceived; they are real, palpable, and frightening.
Tragedy Strikes Lake Arrowhead
Carleton, who did not identify as LGBTQ+, supported “everyone in the community,” according to a statement from Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ+. She is certainly going to be missed.
California Governor Gavin Newsom commented on the incident on social media, calling it “absolutely horrific.” “This disgusting hate has no place in California,” said Dicus. When officers attempted to arrest Ikeguchi, the suspect fired at them, hitting many of their vehicles.
Ikeguchi was fatally shot by the deputies after they exchanged gunfire, according to Dicus. A pistol found at the scene of Ikeguchi’s death looks to be the same one used to shoot Carleton
According to Dicus, detectives are still looking into what motivated Carleton’s slaying. In a news conference held late Monday, sheriff officials revealed that Ikeguchi, a resident of Cedar Glen, has social media profiles with anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-law enforcement content.
The suspect made use of platforms like Gab, which is well-liked by far-right extremists, and Twitter, which was just relaunched as X.