Californian store owner allegedly killed over hanging Pride flag, police say
Aug 21, 2023, 3:12 PM | Updated: 3:12 pm
(CNN) — A Southern California clothing store owner was shot and killed after an argument about a rainbow Pride flag hanging outside her business, police said, as the LGBTQ+ community continues to face violence and threats across America.
Laura Ann “Lauri” Carleton, 66, died from a gunshot wound Friday evening at her store, Mag.Pi, in Cedar Glen, about 80 miles by car east of Los Angeles, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office said.
The suspected shooter also is dead following “a lethal force encounter” with deputies as the suspect ran away after the shooting, authorities said.
“Detectives learned the suspect made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton,” the release said. Investigators haven’t identified the suspect; no deputies were hurt in the encounter.
Homicide Suspect Pronounced Deceased After Lethal Force Encounter Occurs in Cedar Glen https://t.co/UNAlrOnkVS
— San Bernardino County Sheriff (@sbcountysheriff) August 19, 2023
The attack comes as LGBTQ+ people and their supporters have faced threats and acts of violence alongside “an unprecedented wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in 2023,” according to the Human Rights Campaign.
“LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency. The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived – they are real, tangible and dangerous,” the group’s president, Kelley Robinson, said in June when it declared a national state of emergency for the community.
Carleton, who did not identify as LGBTQ+, advocated for “everyone in the community,” the organization Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ+ said in a statement. “She will be truly missed.”
“This is absolutely horrific,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a social media post about the shooting. “This disgusting hate has no place in” California.
A community advocate and ‘wonderful friend’
Hollywood director Paul Feig paid tribute to Carleton, calling her a wonderful friend.
“We are all devastated for her husband Bort and her family and the LGBTQ+ community, for whom Lauri was such a true ally,” Feig wrote in an Instagram post.
“This intolerance has to end,” he said. “Anyone using hateful language against the LGBTQ+ community has to realize their words matter, that their words can inspire violence against innocent loving people. Let’s all keep moving forward with tolerance and love.”
Carleton’s boutique sells shoes, clothing, jewelry, vintage items and gifts.
A career in fashion began early in Carleton’s life as she worked in her family’s clothing shop and attended ArtCenter College of Design, a private art university in Pasadena, California, according to the store’s website.
Carleton and her husband were married for 28 years and share “a blended family of nine children,” according to the store’s website. The couple’s interests included traveling, architecture, design, fine art, food and fashion, the site says.
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