Travis Ikeguchi, 27, was named as the suspect in Friday’s fatal shooting of Lauri Carleton outside of her Lake Arrowhead clothing boutique after Ikeguchi allegedly yelled “homophobic slurs” at her for hanging a Pride flag at her shop, authorities said.
San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus made the announcement at a news conference on Monday.
Travis Ikeguchi, a Cedar Glen resident, shot Carleton, 66, to death at Mag Pi, her Cedar Glen business, after “yelling many homophobic slurs” about her Pride flag, Dicus said.
Ikeguchi didn’t have identification on him, hence the delay in identifying him, the sheriff said.
Officials believe Ikeguchi acted alone, but Dicus said authorities want to confirm the crime was not connected with any hate groups, local or otherwise, and the investigation is ongoing.
The shooting is under investigation as a possible hate crime.
Ikeguchi had a history of making anti-LGBTQ+ posts on different social media channels, including X, formerly known as Twitter.
After allegedly shooting Carleton, Ikeguchi ran away from the crime scene, but was found by sheriff’s deputies less than two miles from her store, where he was fatally shot in a confrontation, authorities said.
Ikeguchi was armed with a Smith & Wesson 9mm automatic handgun, and refused deputies’ orders to drop the weapon, the sheriff said.
When deputies tried to arrest Ikeguchi, he reportedly shot at their vehicles, and the deputies shot him. Authorities tried life-saving measures, but Ikeguchi died at the scene, the sheriff said.
The gun allegedly used in the shooting was not registered to Ikeguchi, Dicus said.
The shooting occurred amid a spike in anti-LGBTQ+ extremism across the nation that has led to protests, threats, and violence against the community.
A report this year by the Anti-Defamation League and the LGBTQ+ organization GLAAD shows more than 350 incidents of harassment, vandalism, or assault took place from June 2022 to April 2023, which the report says coincides with an increase in rhetoric and legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community.
San Bernardino County Supervisor Dawn Rowe, a Republican whose district represents Lake Arrowhead, released a statement, saying, “This senseless act of hate and violence is unthinkable.”
“I stand with my mountain communities as we mourn this incredible loss,” Rowe said. “Everyone deserves to live free of hate and discrimination, and practice their constitutional right of freedom of speech. Lauri was a remarkable member of the community and I send my deepest condolences to her family in this time of grief.”
Rowe also vowed to create an environment where LGBTQ people feel safe and respected.
“Regardless of your color, your sexual orientation, your gender, your political party, there should be acceptance, love and tolerance for everybody in this world. And I say that as a white female heterosexual conservative,” Rowe told NBC News. “This is horrifying to me to think that I would live in a community that could have something like this happen.”