California business owner Laura Ann Carleton was shot and killed Friday evening after a dispute over the Pride flag she’d displayed outside her shop.
Authorities received a report that someone had been shot at the Mag Pi clothing store in Cedar Glen, Calif., which the Carleton owned. Police arrived at the scene to find Carleton, 66, with a gunshot wound. Carleton, who went by Lauri, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Community and Family Mourn California Woman Killed Over Pride Flag
The man, who was killed in a confrontation with deputies, is Travis Ikeguchi, 27, of Cedar Glen, according to the sheriff’s department, which released his name Monday. Ikeguchi fled on foot after shooting Carleton Friday evening, and when the deputies caught up with him, he was carrying no identification, hence the delay in identifying him.
“Through further investigation, detectives learned the suspect made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton,” a police statement said.
Carleton, a mother of a blended family of nine and wife, is being remembered as a pillar of the community who social media users said was a fierce LGBTQ+ ally.
“Today was a very sad day for Lake Arrowhead and for the LGBTQ community. Our friend and supporter Lauri Carleton @magpi_shop was murdered defending her lgbtq+ Pride flags in front of her store in Cedar Glen California. Lauri did not identify as LGBTQ+, but spent her time helping & advocating for everyone in the community. She will be truly missed,” a local LGBTQ+ group, Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ wrote in a post.
Several celebrities, including film director Paul Feig and Oscar-winning actresses Jamie Lee Curtis and Charlize Theron, posted tributes to Carleton as well. California Gov. Gavin Newsom also paid tribute to Carleton following the tragedy.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement that “no one should feel unsafe or be attacked for who they are or for simply supporting the LGBTQ community."
"Lauri’s murder is the latest example of how anti-LGBTQ hatred hurts everyone, whether they are LGBTQ or not," she noted.