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Calif. Shop Owner Shot to Death Over Pride Flag

Laura Ann Carleton owned clothing store

Brody Levesque | Washington Blade

Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association

San Bernardino County (Calif.) Sheriff’s deputies responding to a shooting call in the unincorporated Lake Arrowhead area on Friday at around 5 p.m. discovered the owner of a clothing boutique suffering from gunshot wounds outside of the store.

The victim, identified as 66-year-old Laura Ann Carleton, the owner of the Mag.Pi clothing at 28938 Hook Creek Road in Cedar Glen was pronounced deceased at the scene by emergency medical personnel.    

A spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s office said that during the response to the initial scene on Hook Creek Road, deputies received updates from sheriff’s dispatch indicating the suspect, who has not been identified, fled on foot, and was seen on Torrey Road, east of Highway 173. 

Deputies located the suspect near Torrey Road and Rause Rancho Road, armed with a handgun.  When deputies attempted to engage the suspect, he refused to drop his weapon and a use of lethal force encounter occurred and the suspect was pronounced deceased.  No deputies were injured during the incident.

The Sheriff’s Specialized Investigations Division — Homicide Detail also responded and assumed the investigation.  

Through further investigation, detectives learned the suspect made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton.  

According to a source familiar, the suspect who arrived at Carleton’s store and erratically removed a Pride flag hanging as a decoration outside the shop. Carleton confronted the unidentified man who removed the flag. The male shot her multiple times before fleeing.

Carleton, who was married, also owned the Mag.Pi clothing boutique in Studio City. According to friends she was a strong ally of the LGBTQ+ community and beloved in the Cedar Glen area. She is survived by her husband of 28 years and their nine children.

“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,” San Bernardino County Supervisor Dawn Rowe said in a statement also labeling the shooting a “senseless act of hate and violence.”

According to the sheriff’s department spokesperson the investigation is ongoing, and no further details are being released.  

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Homicide Detail at 909-890-4904.  

Callers wishing to remain anonymous should contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or go to www.wetip.com.  

The National LGBT Media Association represents 13 legacy publications in major markets across the country with a collective readership of more than 400K in print and more than 1 million + online. Learn more here: https://nationallgbtmediaassociation.com/

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