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Friday, March 1, 2024

Man Who Killed Store Owner Over Pride Flag Had History of Anti-LGBTQ, Anti-Police Social Media Posts

A tweet pinned to the top of a Twitter/X account in Travis Ikeguchi's name showed a rainbow flag in flames with the words "What to do with the LGBTQP flag?"

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials said this evening that the man who shot and killed a California store owner over her display of a rainbow Pride flag had a history of anti-LGBTQ and anti-law enforcement social media content.

On Friday at about 5 p.m., deputies responded to a report of a person being shot at the Mag.pi clothing boutique in Cedar Glen, one of the mountain communities surrounding picturesque Lake Arrowhead. Lauri Carleton, 66, of Cedar Glen had been shot and was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders.

Witnesses followed the gunman from the scene, and reported the suspect as a white male wearing a reddish shirt and carrying a backpack running toward the community’s marina. When confronted by deputies about a mile from Mag.pi, he shot at deputies and struck their vehicles before he was killed by deputies returning fire, officials said. No deputies were injured in the confrontation.

Sheriff’s officials said at an evening press conference that the identification of Travis Ikeguchi, 27, was delayed as he carried no ID. The Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun he used in the shooting was unregistered, and he did not have any other firearms registered in his name in the state of California.

Sheriff Shannon Dicus said that Ikeguchi tore down the Pride flag that Carleton, a married mother of 9, displayed outside her store and “yelled many homophobic slurs” before shooting Carleton.

Dicus said that the area had four reported hate crimes in 2022 and “none seem to be related” to Friday’s murder.

The day before the incident Ikeguchi was reported missing by his family to a sheriff’s station. Sheriff’s officials noted Ikeguchi left a trail of posts on Twitter/X and Gab including anti-gay and anti-police content.

A Twitter/X account in Ikeguchi’s name frequently tweeted and retweeted others until posts stopped on June 28. A tweet pinned to the top of his feed showed a rainbow flag in flames with the words “What to do with the LGBTQP flag?”

Man Who Killed Store Owner Over Pride Flag Had History of Anti-LGBTQ, Anti-Police Social Media Posts Homeland Security Today

In a June 28 post, the Ikeguchi account — which included posts on conspiracy theories along with anti-vaccine and anti-abortion content — posted, “Abortion and same-sex marriage are both immoral and are design to destroy humanity one by one. So if someone is pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQP, they are at war against the foundation of family values. –Travis Ikeguchi 6/23/2023 6:39am”

Man Who Killed Store Owner Over Pride Flag Had History of Anti-LGBTQ, Anti-Police Social Media Posts Homeland Security Today

A Gab account bearing Ikeguchi’s name — describing the author as “Anti-freemasonry, Anti-zionism, Anti-jesuits, and Anti-paganism, same-sex marriage should be abolished” — pinned a post with a video titled “When You Should Shoot a Cop,” with Ikeguchi stating, “There will come a time that we have to do this.”

Man Who Killed Store Owner Over Pride Flag Had History of Anti-LGBTQ, Anti-Police Social Media Posts Homeland Security Today

He pinned a January 2021 post showing another burning rainbow flag:

Man Who Killed Store Owner Over Pride Flag Had History of Anti-LGBTQ, Anti-Police Social Media Posts Homeland Security Today

On the day of the shooting, the Ikeguchi Gab account declared in a post that “America must repent” and that “there is no political solution.”

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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