The perpetrator fled from the scene after the shooting on Friday night, but was eventually located by officers from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. A confrontation ensued, resulting in the man's death.
The victim, Laura Ann Carleton, was the proud owner and operator of the store called Mag.Pi. Surrounded by the picturesque San Bernadino Mountains, Cedar Glen is a small community located approximately 60 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
According to sheriff’s officials, prior to the shooting, the assailant made derogatory remarks about a rainbow flag proudly displayed outside the store. The motive behind this heinous act remains unclear, as the identity of the perpetrator has not yet been released as of Sunday.
"Lauri," as Carleton preferred to be called, leaves behind her husband and nine children from a blended family. Although she wasn't a member of the LGBTQ+ community, a nearby LGBTQ group in Lake Arrowhead emphasized that she tirelessly advocated for and supported everyone. On the night of the shooting, Carleton valiantly defended her Pride flags that adorned the storefront.
The store's social media accounts have been flooded with an outpouring of support over the weekend. Commenters expressed shock and deep sadness, often accompanying their heartfelt messages with rainbow flag emojis.
It is distressing to note that acts of hate against rainbow Pride flags have been investigated as potential hate crimes by law enforcement agencies in various states in recent times.