A man who fatally shot a store owner in California had torn down her Pride flag and shouted homophobic slurs, officials said, the Guardian reports. Laura Ann "Laurie" Carleton, 66, died at the scene of the shooting on Friday outside her Mag.Pi clothing store in Cedar Glen, an unincorporated community in the mountains 60 miles east of Los Angeles. San Bernardino’s county sheriff, Shannon Dicus, identified the shooter as Travis Ikeguchi, 27. Ikeguchi fled on foot, and when he was confronted by officers, he opened fire on them and hit multiple squad cars, Dicus said. Sheriff’s deputies fired back and fatally shot Ikeguchi a mile from the store. Ikeguchi, who lived in Cedar Glen, had a history of posting hateful content online, the sheriff said, adding that his family had reported him missing. He shot Carleton with a semiautomatic handgun, which was not registered to him, and he did not have a concealed carry license.
The shooting has sparked national outrage and comes at a time of rising reports of anti-LGBTQ+ violence across the U.S. Carleton’s family and friends have said she was a fierce ally to LGBTQ+ people and had previously faced backlash for displaying a rainbow flag, but refused to take it down. “She was murdered over a pride flag that she proudly hung on her storefront,” said two of her daughters, Ari and Kelsey Carleton, on Instagram. “Make no mistake, this was a hate crime. Her flags had been torn down before and she always responded by putting up a bigger one. Our family is broken. We find peace in knowing she passed quickly in a place she cherished, doing what she loved while fiercely defending something she believed in. She was fearless, cool and compassionate – always putting others first.”