A shop owner in California has been shot dead by a man objecting to a Pride flag hanging in her shop. Laura Ann Carleton was killed at around 5pm on the evening of Friday, August 18, in front of her clothing store, Mag.Pi, in Cedar Glen.
Before the attack, the shooter reportedly removed and “made several disparaging remarks” about the rainbow flag hanging at the property. When Carleton confronted the man, he shot her and fled the scene on foot.
The armed suspect was later located and killed by local authorities in a lethal force encounter, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department confirmed.
Homicide Suspect Pronounced Deceased After Lethal Force Encounter Occurs in Cedar Glen https://t.co/UNAlrOnkVS
— San Bernardino County Sheriff (@sbcountysheriff) August 19, 2023
According to members of the local community, the victim, known as ‘Lauri’, was a proud LGBTQ+ ally and a beloved figure in the area. She is survived by her husband of 28 years and her nine children.
In response to the incident, San Bernardino County Supervisor Dawn Rowe said, “Everyone deserves to live free of hate and discrimination and practice their constitutional right of freedom of speech. Lauri was a remarkable member of the community and I send my deepest condolences to her family in this time of grief.”
The officer added that the shooting was a “senseless act of hate and violence.” According to the sheriff’s department, the investigation remains ongoing.
Many others reacted to the news, including film director Paul Feig, who paid tribute to his “wonderful friend” who was shot for defending her Pride flag.
“We are all devastated for her husband Bort and her family and the LGBTQ+ community, for whom Lauri was such a true ally. Her alleged murderer was later shot and killed by the San Bernardino police and so no longer poses a threat to the community.
“But this intolerance has to end,” the filmmaker continued.
“Anyone using hateful language against the LGBTQ+ community has to realise their words matter, that their words can inspire violence against innocent loving people.
“Let’s all keep moving forward with tolerance and love. Let’s not let Lauri’s tragic death be in vain,” he concluded.
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Similarly, comedian and Somebody Somewhere star Bridget Everett commented, “In the past, when someone took down her flag or vandalised it, she’d put up another one.
“The last time I saw Lauri was, oddly enough, at Lake Arrowhead pride both in the parade and then at a party.
“All that anti-LGBTQ rhetoric has a price. And now, Lauri’s husband Bort, her daughters, friends and community are devastated. And for what?”
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Rest in Power, Lauri.
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