California Store Owner Killed Defending Her Pride Flag

Shooter killed Laura Ann Carleton in front of clothing store before deadly encounter with police
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2023 1:00 AM CDT
Shop Owner Fatally Shot Defending Pride Flag
A Pride flag waves in the breeze.   (Getty Images/nito100)

A store owner in California was shot and killed Friday by a man who made derogatory comments about rainbow Pride flags erected outside the store, according to investigators. Laura "Lauri" Ann Carleton, 66, was shot outside her Mag Pi clothing store in Cedar Glen, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, and died at the scene, according to the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department. It said the suspect "made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton," per KABC. The shooter, still unidentified, was located a short distance away. Officials said he was carrying a handgun, which he refused to drop, per ABC News. "When deputies attempted to contact the suspect, a lethal force encounter occurred and the suspect was pronounced deceased," the department said, adding no deputies were injured.

San Bernardino County Supervisor Dawn Rowe described Carleton's death as a "senseless act of hate and violence." A local LGBTQ+ organization said Carleton was an ally of the LGBTQ+ community who "was murdered defending her lgbtq+ Pride flags in front of her store." Actor Bridget Everett, who shared a photo of her and Carleton together, said people had removed or vandalized Carleton's Pride flags in the past, but "she'd put up another one," per ABC. Film director Paul Feig said Carleton was a friend "who did so much for the LGBTQ+ community as well as the community at large." She worked for Kenneth Cole Productions for more than 15 years before opening her own clothing store, according to her website. "She has been married to the same man for 28 years and is the mother of a blended family of nine children," it adds, per ABC. (More murder stories.)

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