- Aug 12, 2015
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- Political Leaning
The heavily armed suspected gunman arrested in Santa Monica, California yesterday, was identified as James Wesley Howell, a 20-year-old Indiana man.
Authorities were trying to figure out why an Indiana man had three assault rifles and chemicals used to make explosives some 2,000 miles from home in Southern California, where he told the officers who arrested him that he was headed to a gay pride parade.
James Wesley Howell, 20, told police he was going to LA Pride in West Hollywood, an event that draws hundreds of thousands of people each year. But Santa Monica police and the FBI don't yet know his intentions.
His arrest came just a few hours after 49 people were shot and killed in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, though police said they had found no evidence the incidents were connected.
Still, the incident in L.A. has added to a heightened sense of fear and paranoia in the LGBT community, many of whom described the Orlando massacre as their "biggest fear" made real.
Howell, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, was arrested around 5 a.m. after residents called police to report suspicious behavior by a man who parked his white Acura sedan facing the wrong way. When officers arrived, they saw an assault rifle sitting in Howell's passenger seat, Santa Monica police Lt. Saul Rodriguez said.
They searched the car and found two more assault rifles, high-capacity magazines and ammunition, and a five-gallon bucket with chemicals that could be used to make an explosive device, police said.
Heavily armed man James Wesley Howell said he was going to L.A. gay pride parade - CBS News