Lauri Carleton, Mag Pi store owner, killed over Pride flag

Lauri Carleton Mag Pi Pride Flag

Mourners left flowers outside Lauri Carleton’s Mag.Pi shop in Cedar Glen where was she was shot and killed Friday. Photo: Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ

UPDATE: Newly created Pride flag to memorialize Lauri Carleton.

Lauri Carleton, a Lake Arrowhood-area shop owner, was shot and killed Friday after the gunman made disparaging remarks to her about the LGBTQ Pride flag hanging outside of her clothing and home decor boutique, authorities said.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies later fatally shot the suspect, the law enforcement agency said.

Carleton, operated two Mag Pi stores, in Studio City and Cedar Glen, with the Cedar Glen location opening in the summer of 2021, according to posts from the business’ social media.

Carleton’s twin daughters, Arielle and Kelsey, posted about their mother on their Instagram Sunday.

“As most of you know our beautiful mommy was taken from us in a senseless act of violence on Friday August 18. She was murdered over a  pride flag that she proudly hung on her storefront. Make no mistake, this was a hate crime. Her flags had been torn down before and she always responded by putting up a bigger one. Our family is broken. We have a long road ahead of us as we navigate this new reality with our loving matriarch. We find peace knowing she passed quickly in a place she cherished, doing what she loved while fiercely deafening something she believed in. She was fearless, cool and compassionate – always putting others first.”

Paul Feig Lauri Carleton Shot Pride Flag Shop Owner killed

Director Paul Feig, left, shared a photo of his friend Lauri Carleton, right, on his Instagram Saturday. Photo: Paul Feig.

Friends and a local LGBTQ+ group mourned Carleton’s killing.

The Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ+ organization said in an Instagram post that while Carleton didn’t identify as LGBTQ+, she was proud to fly the Pride flag in front of her shop. 

“Lauri’s unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community and her dedication to creating a safe and inclusive space within her shop touched the lives of many,” the group said in the post. “Her untimely passing in a senseless act of violence has left us all deeply saddened.”

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Director Paul Feig (“The Bridesmaids,” “The Heat,” “Ghostbusters: ATC”) posted a photo of himself with Carleton on his Instagram on Saturday.

“Our wonderful friend Lauri Carleton was murdered yesterday in her store in Lake Arrowhead by a 27 year old man who didn’t like that she had a large pride flag hanging outside of her shop. He ripped it down and when she confronted him about it he shot and killed her. We are all devastated for her husband Bort and her family and the LGBTQ+ community, for whom Lauri was such a true ally.”

Sheriff’s deputies responded to an emergency call at the Mag Pi store in the 28000 block of Hook Creek Road in Cedar Glen approximately 5 p.m. Friday, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

When they arrived they found the shop owner, Laura Ann Carleton, 66, also known as Lauri, was shot, authorities said. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.

The suspect ran from the scene, but a short time later, deputies confronted him, armed with a handgun, near Rouse Ranch Road and Torrey Road, about a mile from the store, and shot him, authorities said.

The man, who has not been identified pending notification of his relatives.,died at the scene, the sheriff’s department said.

No deputies were not injured in the incident, the department said.

Sheriff’s officials did not say whether a gun was recovered from the scene or if Carleton’s shooting would be investigated as a possible hate crime.

In a news release, the department said that “through further investigation, detectives learned the suspect made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton.”

Law enforcement agencies in various states, including New York, California and Nebraska, have investigated the destruction of rainbow Pride flags as potential hate crimes.

Lauri Carleton began her fashion career when she was a teenager and worked at Kenneth Cole as an executive for more than 15 years, according to Mag.Pi’s website. She traveled with her husband across the U.S., Europe and South America, which helped encourage her love for design, fashion, and food. 

Carleton is the mother of a blended family of nine children, according to the website.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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