Calif. Shop Owner Shot to Death Over Pride Flag

Lake Arrowhead shop owner Lauri Carleton, was shot to death outside of her business after a dispute over an LGBTQ Pride flag turned deadly. (Screenshot NBC News)

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies responding to a shooting call in the unincorporated Lake Arrowhead area on Aug. 18 at around 5 p.m. discovered the owner of a clothing boutique suffering from gunshot wounds outside the store.

The victim, identified as 66-year-old Laura Ann Carleton, the owner of the Mag.Pi clothing at 28938 Hook Creek Road, in Cedar Glen was pronounced deceased at the scene by emergency medical personnel.    

A spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s office said that during the response to the initial scene on Hook Creek Road, deputies received updates from Sheriff’s Dispatch indicating the suspect, who has not been identified, fled on foot, and was seen on Torrey Road, east of Highway 173.

Deputies located the suspect near Torrey Road and Rause Rancho Road, armed with a handgun.  When deputies attempted to engage the suspect, he refused to drop his weapon and a use of lethal force encounter occurred and the suspect was pronounced deceased.  No deputies were injured during the incident.

The Sheriff’s Specialized Investigations Division – Homicide Detail also responded and assumed the investigation.  

Through further investigation, detectives learned the suspect made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton.  

According to a source familiar, the suspect who arrived at Carleton’s store erratically removed a pride flag hanging as a decoration outside the shop. Carleton confronted the unidentified man who removed the flag. The male shot her multiple times before fleeing.

Carleton, who is married, also owns the Mag.Pi clothing boutique in Studio City. According to friends she was a strong ally of the LGBTQ+ community and beloved in the Cedar Glen area. She is survived by her husband of 28 years and their 9 children.

“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,” San Bernardino County Supervisor Dawn Rowe said in a statement also labeling the shooting a “senseless act of hate and violence.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Twitter/X said: “This is absolutely horrific. A shop owner has been shot and killed by a man after he criticized the pride flag hanging outside her business. Lauri leaves behind her husband and 9 children. This disgusting hate has no place in CA.”

According to the Sheriff’s Department spokesperson the investigation is ongoing, and no further details are being released. 

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Homicide Detail at 909-890-4904. 

Callers wishing to remain anonymous should contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or got to

 Los Angeles Blade courtesy of the National LGBTQ Media Association.


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