A Southern California business owner was shot and killed Friday by a man who objected to an LGBTQ+ Pride flag displayed at her clothing store, officials said.
San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies responded to the Mag.Pi clothing store in Cedar Glen, Calif., at around 5 p.m. local time for reports of a shooting.
Deputies discovered the victim, 66-year-old Laura Ann Carleton, suffering from a gunshot wound. Carleton was pronounced dead at the scene, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
The suspect, who was not identified by officials, fled the scene on foot.
According to deputies, the man made “several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag” that stood outside Carleton’s store before ultimately shooting her.
Deputies were later able to locate the armed suspect, who was confronted by deputies and was killed in “a lethal force encounter,” authorities said. No deputies were injured.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department says an investigation into the incident is still ongoing.
Carleton, who went by “Lauri,” had a husband and nine children, according to the clothing store’s website. She owned and operated the Mag.Pi clothing store and began her career in fashion at an early age.
Carleton studied at the Art Center School of Design and had a long career in the fashion industry, including a 15-year run as an executive at Kenneth Cole, the site said.
Tributes continue to pour in honoring Carleton following news of the fatal shooting.
The Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ organization took to social media to address the shooting, saying that while Carleton did not identify as a member, she spent her time helping and being an advocate for those in the LGBTQ+ community.
Mountain Provisions Cooperative, a local food co-op, said on Instagram that Carleton and her husband had been pivotal in helping organize a free store after a blizzard hit the area earlier this year.
“Lauri was a pillar in our community, an immovable force in her values for equality, love, and justice,” according to the post. “If you knew Lauri you know she loved hard, laughed often, and nurtured and protected those she cared about.”
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