Laura Ann Carleton, the owner of the Mag Pi clothing store in Cedar Glen, CA, was shot and killed on Friday by a man who ripped down the Pride flag outside of her shop.
The suspect “made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton.” Carelton confronted him, and he shot her multiple times before fleeing the scene. When the San Bernadino police and EMTs arrived, Carleton was pronounced dead on the scene. She was 66.
The Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ+ organization spoke out about the incident on Facebook.
“Today was a very sad day for Lake Arrowhead and for the LGBTQ community. Our friend and supporter Lauri Carleton @magpi_shop 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.”
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Police tracked down the suspect, who was still armed.
“When deputies attempted to contact the suspect, a lethal force encounter occurred and the suspect was pronounced deceased,” the sheriff’s department confirmed.
San Bernardino County Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe also spoke out about the shooting.
“I stand with my mountain communities as we mourn this incredible loss,” she said in a statement. “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.”
Carleton is survived by her husband, Bort, and nine kids. She is remembered by her peers as “a pillar in our community, an immovable force in her values for equality, love, and justice.”
“Yesterday, I read the headline, ‘shop owner killed over rainbow flag’ and shook my head. Today, I realized that it was Lauri, who I knew back when she was with Calvin Klein, and it was in liberal California. The world of LGBTQ people and our allies sometimes feels very small in that at least for me we often know each other in some capacity. Lauri, like all victims, should not just be another headline we ignore,” wrote GO’s Diane Anderson-Minshall on Instagram.