A California business owner was shot and killed during a dispute over a LGBTQ Pride flag displayed outside her store, according to authorities.
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials said Laura Ann Carleton, 66, was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting Friday night.
Sheriff’s officials said that during the initial altercation at Carleton’s clothing store, the suspect “made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton.” He then fled the scene.
Deputies were able to locate the armed suspect and he was fatally shot after a confrontation with the officers. The man had not been identified as of Sunday.
Carleton, who preferred to be called “Lauri,” is survived by her husband and nine children in a blended family. She owned and operated the Mag.Pi clothing store in Cedar Glen. The unincorporated community in the San Bernadino Mountains is roughly 96km east of downtown Los Angeles.
An LGBTQ group in nearby Lake Arrowhead said Carleton didn’t identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but spent time helping and advocating for everyone and was defending her Pride flags placed in front of her shop on the night of the shooting.
Law enforcement agencies in several states have investigated the destruction of rainbow Pride flags as potential hate crimes in recent years.