Shopkeeper who displayed rainbow Pride flag at store shot dead


Lauri Carlton (pictured right) who was shot dead in her store

Lauri Carlton (pictured right) who was shot dead in her store

A shopkeeper has been shot dead in a dispute over a rainbow Pride flag displayed outside her clothing store 60 miles from Los Angeles.

Laura Ann Carleton, 66, was pronounced dead at the scene following Friday night’s shooting.

Ms Carleton reportedly confronted the man after he pulled down the flag.

According to police, a man opened fire after making disparaging remarks.

The man, who was armed with a handgun, fled and was later shot dead by police.

Hollywood director Paul Feig paid tribute to Ms Carleton, who lived with her husband and their nine children from their blended families.

Mr Feig said he was “devastated” for Ms Carleton’s family and the local LGBTQ+ community, who regarded her as an ally.

“This intolerance has to end,” Mr Feigwrote. “Anyone using hateful language against the LGBTQ+ community has to realise their words matter, that their words can inspire violence against innocent loving people.

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

Ms Carleton owned the Mag.Pi clothing store in Cedar Glen, which is located in the San Bernardino mountains.

Hollywood actress Bridget Everett said vandals had attacked the rainbow flag outside the store before.

A local LGBT group also paid tribute to a friend and supporter.

“Lauri did not identify as LGBTQ+, but spent her time helping & advocating for everyone in the community,” it wrote on Instagram.

According to the US Department of Justice, 15.6 per cent of hate crimes in 2021, the latest year for which figures are available, were attributed to sexual orientation.

In April, an Ohio man was charged with using Molotov cocktails to burn down a church which was planning to hold drag shows.

In the same month, the Department of Justice reported that a Maryland man had been charged with a hate crime after leaving a threatening voicemail on the answerphone of an LGBTQ group.

A report from the Anti-Defamation League and the LGBTQ+ organisation GLAAD shows there have been more than 350 incidents of harassment, vandalism or assault from June 2022 to April 2023.

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