April 20, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Suspect in the Murder of the Mag Pi Store Owner, Has Been Identified

Community Mourns Loss of Laura Ann Carleton, Victim of Homophobic Attack

By Dolores Quintana

Travis Ikeguchi was identified as the suspect in the murder of Lauri Carlton in Cedar Glen, an unincorporated community close to Lake Arrowhead. According to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, Ikeguchi “made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton.” Differing accounts say that Ikeguchi also tore down the flag, and one of her daughters stated that it was not the first time that the flag had been torn down, but each time, her mother simply got a bigger Pride flag to replace it. 

According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office, the assailant, Travis Ikeguchi, was armed with an unregistered Smith & Wesson 9mm semi-automatic handgun. After allegedly shooting Carleton, he fled the crime scene on foot but was eventually located by sheriff’s deputies at Torrey Road and Rause Rancho Road. During the confrontation, the deputies fatally shot Ikeguchi after he reportedly shot at them and refused orders to drop his weapon. Ikeguchi died at the scene. 

This tragic event happened on Friday, August 18, at 5:00 p.m., prompting an outpouring of grief and condemnation. California Governor Gavin Newsom expressed his condolences, denouncing the hateful act and emphasizing that such “disgusting hate has no place in CA.” Designer Kenneth Cole acknowledged her as a friend and a long-time associate of his company. He lamented her loss as an “unnecessary and tragic death.”

The local LGBTQ+ community, through the Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ organization, paid tribute to Carleton, describing her as a strong supporter of LGBTQ+ rights. They wrote in a statement, “Today was a very sad day for Lake Arrowhead and for the LGBTQ community. Our friend and supporter Lauri Carleton… 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.” 

San Bernardino County Supervisor Dawn Rowe also expressed her grief, condemning the “senseless act of hate and violence” and standing in solidarity with the mountain communities mourning this devastating loss. Rowe emphasized that everyone deserves to live free of hate and discrimination and practice their constitutional right of freedom of speech.

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, released a statement highlighting the senseless nature of Carleton’s killing and its connection to a concerning rise in anti-LGBTQ threats and attacks nationwide. She emphasized that nobody should feel unsafe or be subjected to violence for their identity or for supporting the LGBTQ+ community. The tragic event serves as a somber reminder that anti-LGBTQ hatred affects everyone, whether LGBTQ+ or an ally and does not align with the values of the majority of Americans.

in NEWS
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