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California Shop Owner Shot Dead by Man Who Made "Disparaging Remarks" About Her Pride Flag
Lauri Carleton was gunned down in front of her shop in Cedar Glen. The suspect, Travis Ikeguchi, was later killed in a confrontation with law enforcement.
The owner of a pair of California clothing and accessories shops was shot dead outside of her San Bernardino County store on Friday, allegedly by a man who had a problem with a Pride flag hanging outside.
The armed suspect — identified late Monday as Travis Ikeguchi — was killed by sheriff's deputies in pursuit of him, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department.
At 5 p.m. on Friday, deputies from the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station responded to a report of a person who had been shot at the Mag.Pi clothing store on Hook Creek Road in Cedar Glen. "When deputies arrived, they located the victim ... suffering from a gunshot wound," the sheriff-coroner department stated. Emergency medical personnel pronounced the woman dead at the scene.
While a news release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department identifies the victim by her legal name, Laura Ann Carleton, a 66-year-old resident of Cedar Glen, the store owner's first name is spelled as "Lauri" in a bio on the website for her shops. Friends and acquaintances also referred to her as Lauri.
"During the response to the initial scene on Hook Creek Road, deputies received updates from Sheriff’s Dispatch indicating the suspect, who has not been identified, fled on foot, and was seen on Torrey Road, east of Highway 173," the release added. "Deputies located the suspect near Torrey Road and Rause Rancho Road, armed with a handgun. When deputies attempted to contact the suspect, a lethal force encounter occurred and the suspect was pronounced deceased. No deputies were injured during the incident."
The Sheriff’s Specialized Investigations Division – Homicide Detail are conducting an ongoing investigation.
"Through further investigation, detectives learned the suspect made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton," the sheriff's department stated.
A group called Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ posted a tribute on Facebook to Carleton on Saturday, calling her loss "a very sad day for Lake Arrowhead and for the LGBTQ community. Our friend and supporter Lauri Carleton ... 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."
Carleton also had several celebrity friends, with "Bridesmaids" director Paul Feig tweeting Saturday, "Lauri Carleton was my friend. She was a wonderful person who did so much for the LGBTQ+ community as well as the community at large. What happened to her is an absolute tragedy. If people don’t think anti-gay & trans rhetoric isn’t dangerous, think again."
On Monday, Feig added on X, formerly known as Twitter, "The man who shot her was tearing down her pride flag. Lauri walked out and asked him 'Why do you need to do this?' He ranted at her with anti-gay inve[c]tive and she asked him again 'But why do you need to do this?' And then he shot her twice in the chest."
Actress Kristin Davis — who played Charlotte in Sex and the City and reprised the role for the sequel show And Just Like That... — also paid tribute to Carleton.
"Unfathomably she was shot and killed Friday in her store near Lake Arrowhead because she had a Pride flag in front of her store," Davis wrote on Instagram. "I had the pleasure of meeting Lauri and shopping in her charming store over the summer. I cannot comprehend what has happened and I can only imagine what her family and close friends are going through.
"We cannot rest in our work towards love and understanding and equality for every person," the actress added. "It is abundantly clear that divisive senseless hate is the only motive for this hate crime. Lauri was a strong ally, when her Pride flags were stollen she quickly replaced them. To think that she was murdered for her support of our LQBTQ+ family tears my heart into pieces."
Carleton owned another Mag.Pi shop in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Studio City, according to the store's website. The business owner's bio on the site states that she started working in the fashion industry in her teens, first in the family business at Fred Segal Feet in L.A. while attending design school.
"From there she ran “the” top fashion shoe floor in the US at Joseph Magnin Century City," the bio states. "Eventually she joined Kenneth Cole almost from its inception and remained there for over fifteen years as an executive, building highly successful businesses, working with factories and design teams in Italy and Spain, and traveling 200 plus days a year."
She was married for 28 years and was mom to a blended family of nine children. "Mag.Pi for Lauri is all about tackling everyday life with grace and ease and continuing to dream," her bio states.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department is asking that anyone with information about this incident contact the Homicide Detail at 909-890-4904. Those who would like to remain anonymous are asked to contract the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or go to www.wetip.com.