Suspect in killing of storeowner over LGBTQ flag was far-right conspiracist who promoted Christian nationalism

Suspect in killing of storeowner over LGBTQ flag was far-right conspiracist who promoted Christian nationalism
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The 27-year old man suspected of shooting and killing a 66-year old California store owner and mother of nine after confronting her for the LGBTQ pride flag outside her shop has been identified as a right-wing conspiracy theorist who promoted Christian nationalism and shared anti-LGBTQ content on social media.

“Travis Ikeguchi, 27, shot Laura Ann Carleton, 66, on Friday after ‘yelling many homophobic slurs’ about the store’s pride flag, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said at a news conference Monday,” VICE reports Tuesday, calling the suspect “a far-right conspiracy theorist who shared deeply anti-LGBTQ and antisemitic content on his social media accounts.”

Police tracked Ikeguchi after he fled the scene. He was shot in a “lethal force encounter,” according to police.

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“When deputies confronted Travis Ikeguchi on foot about a mile from the store Friday night, he opened fire on them, striking multiple squad cars, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus told reporters,” the Associated Press adds. “Deputies returned fire and shot Ikeguchi, who died at the scene, Dicus said. No deputies were hurt.”

“An LGBTQ group in nearby Lake Arrowhead said Carleton didn’t identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community,” the AP also reports. “But she spent time helping and advocating for everyone, and she was defending her Pride flags placed in front of her shop on the night of the shooting, the group said.”

VICE reports it reviewed the suspect’s “social media accounts on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and the far-right social network Gab.”

They “show that the shooter had fully embraced a wide range of conspiracy theories—from claiming the 9/11 attacks were staged to suggestions that former first lady Michelle Obama is a man to denying climate change. He also posted content opposing gun control measures.”

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He also shared “anti-LGBTQ content, reposting and responding to content shared by right-wing figures like commentator Matt Walsh and fringe networks like One America News.”

While social media platforms often shutter accounts of those suspected of engaging in shootings or other killings, an account bearing Ikeguchi’s name, created in 2015, is still active on X. Its pinned post from June 13 shows an LGBTQ pride flag in flames. Atop the post is the question, “What to do with the LGBTQP flag?”

That social media account also posted or reposted anti-abortion, anti-vaccine, and anti-police comments.

The Texas Observer’s Steven Monacelli noted that the account that bears the suspect’s name on X “shared anti-LGBTQ content online including a post from Protect Texas Kids, an anti-LGBTQ activist group led by a self-described Christian Fascist.”

Watch CNN’s report from Monday night below or at this link.

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