Authorities have named a gunman who killed California store owner Laura “Lauri” Carleton after she made “disparaging remarks” about her LGBTQ+ flag.
Travis Ikeguchi, 27, shot the 66-year-old mother of nine outside her Mag.Pi store in Cedar Glen, 83 miles east of Los Angeles, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement Monday.
Officers found Carleton outside the store at 5 p.m. PT Friday suffering from a single gunshot wound. Rescue workers pronounced her dead at the scene of the accident.
The suspect was near Torrey Road and Rause Rancho Road, was armed with a handgun and was shot dead by officers.
The shootings are still under investigation.
San Bernardino Sheriff Shannon Dicus confirmed the suspect’s identity at a news conference Monday afternoon.
He confirmed the suspect “pulled down a Pride flag and shouted lots of homophobic slurs at Carleton” before shooting her.
Officials say the gun used to kill Carleton was a Smith & Wesson 9mm semi-automatic pistol, which was not registered to the suspect.
And the sheriff added that the suspect’s family reported him missing the day before the murder.
Carleton is remembered by family and friends as a staunch ally of the LGBTQ+ community who died fighting back against homophobic hate speech.
Carleton, who was married to husband Bort for 28 years, was “murdered because of a Pride flag she proudly displayed on her storefront,” daughters Ari and Kelsey wrote on Instagram.
“Make no mistake, this was a hate crime,” the daughters wrote.
Vandals have ripped rainbow flags out of the store, which Carleton opened in 2021, on several occasions, and each time she has replaced them with larger ones, the daughters said.
ghostbusters Director Paul Feig wrote on Instagram that his “amazing girlfriend” was murdered by a man who “didn’t like that there was a big Pride flag outside her store.”
“This intolerance has to end. “Anyone using hateful language against the LGBTQ+ community needs to realize that their words matter and that their words can lead to violence against innocent, loving people,” said Mr. Feig.
LGBT+ community group Lake Arrowhead plans to hold a vigil for Carleton once Tropical Storm Hilary passes.