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US shopkeeper and ‘true LGBTQ+ ally’ shot and killed after Pride flag row

“Let’s not let Lauri’s tragic death be in vain”

By Charlotte Manning

Pride flag California
A woman was shot in California for displaying a Pride flag outside her store (Image: Pexels)

A business owner has been killed after a dispute over a Pride flag displayed outside her California store, according to authorities. 

Officials responded to calls of shots being fired at around 5pm on Friday, 18 August. They located the victim, Laura Ann Carleton, 66, suffering from a gunshot wound.  

An unnamed male suspect made “disparaging remarks” about the Pride flag that stood outside her Mag.Pi clothing store before shooting her. 

Emergency medical personnel pronounced Carleton deceased at the scene.  

“Let’s not let Lauri’s tragic death be in vain”

A statement from San Bernardino County Sheriff Coroner Department, detailed how the suspect fled the scene.

The suspect was, who was armed with a handgun, was later located. Authorities added that “a lethal force encounter occurred and the suspect was pronounced deceased.”

Tributes have flooded in for Carleton, including from Hollywood director Paul Feig, who was a close friend.

He described her as a “true LGBTQ+ ally” and stated how her death must “not be in vain.”

On Instagram he wrote next to a picture of the pair together: “Our wonderful friend Lauri Carlton (seen in this picture) was murdered yesterday in her store @magpi_shop 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. 

Feig went on: “Her alleged murderer was later shot and killed by the San Bernardino police and so no longer poses a threat to the community. 

“But this intolerance has to end. Anyone using hateful language against the LGBTQ+ community has to realize their words matter. Their words can inspire violence against innocent loving people. 

“Her untimely passing in a senseless act of violence has left us all deeply saddened”

“Let’s all keep moving forward with tolerance and love. Let’s not let Lauri’s tragic death be in vain,” he concluded. 

Governor of California, Gavin Neesom, called the news of Carleton’s killing “absolutely horrific.”

He added: “This disgusting hate has no place in CA.”

The Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ+ community commented on her “unwavering support” for the community in another heartfelt tribute. 

“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 a statement.

“Her untimely passing in a senseless act of violence has left us all deeply saddened.”

Carleton is survived by her husband and their nine children.