The suspect involved in the fatal shooting of a California-based shop owner over her Pride flag display has been identified as Travis Ikeguchi. The 27-year-old killed Laura Ann Carleton at her store, Mag.Pi, in Cedar Glen, on the evening of Friday, August 18, before later being located and gunned down by police.
According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Ikeguchi’s family reported him missing the day before the incident. Prior to the shooting, the suspect, a resident of the local area, is said to have torn down the Pride flag from Carleton’s property, also making “several disparaging remarks” and yelling “homophobic slurs” towards the woman.
Ikeguchi then opened fire with an unregistered Smith & Wesson 9mm semi-automatic pistol, a weapon which he did not have a license to carry, killing the 66-year-old before fleeing the scene on foot.
Authorities were alerted to the crime at around 5pm, and they later located the gunman, who is said to have also fired at police. As reported by Sheriff Shannon Dicus, the man struck multiple squad cars, and was ultimately shot down by deputies and pronounced dead at the scene.
In the aftermath, it has come to light that Ikeguchi frequently posted anti-LGBTQ+, anti-abortion and anti-police content on his social media accounts, with his pinned post on X (formerly Twitter) showing a Pride flag on fire.
Suspect Identified in the Shooting Death of Cedar Glen Woman https://t.co/8ItbZTy882
— San Bernardino County Sheriff (@sbcountysheriff) August 22, 2023
Laura Ann Carleton, also known as ‘Lauri’, was known as a proud LGBTQ+ ally, and is survived by nine children and her husband of 28 years. In the wake of her untimely and tragic death, tributes have poured in from around the world.
Local queer organisation Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ+ described her as a “remarkable figure” whose “unwavering support” for the community and “dedication to creating a safe and inclusive space within her shop touched the lives of many”.
Others to have spoken out include film director Paul Feig, comedian Bridget Everett and actor Jamie Lee Curtis.
In an Instagram post, Curtis wrote: “I feel deeply saddened by this. This is our country now and we can’t look away. Rest in peace Laura Ann Carleton, a mother of nine. Thank you for your allyship. Thank you for your love. I’ll never forget you”.
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