Laura Ann Carleton, a well-known clothing boutique owner and designer who was married with nine children, was allegedly shot to death by a shooter who investigators claim mocked her sexual orientation and tore down a Pride flag outside her Cedar Glen store before opening fire.
Her loved ones have been remembering her in the days since her passing as they continue to understand what transpired.
Her two stores are 90 miles apart, in Cedar Glen and Studio City. However, the atmosphere in front of both establishments is more intense than ever.
The Lake Arrowhead area store where she was killed over those very colors is decorated with rainbow flags. The love in Studio City overflowed from her store to her neighbor’s.
“Everyone loved her. I mean she had a big, huge clientele and they’ve been texting me and saying did I hear?” business owner Dana Kathryn told Eyewitness News. “We’re just in shock. Absolute shock.”
According to a statement from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Carleton was killed on Friday in front of her Mag Pi clothing boutique in Cedar Glen.
Hate Crimes Against LGBTQ+ Community on the Rise in Los Angeles
Professor Brian Levin of Cal State San Bernardino has investigated hate crimes for decades and has observed a rise in them, most recently by double digits, within the LGBTQ+ community.
According to Levin, of all the cities in this century, Los Angeles had the most hate crimes registered in the previous year, with New York coming in second.
Up to this particular incident, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department had no records of any anti-LGBTQ+ crimes.
Authorities shot the murderer dead when he allegedly fired on them. Travis Ikeguchi, age 27, was named as the man.
Ikeguchi attempted to change his name in 2021 but ultimately failed.
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He had no prior convictions in the county that were known. Ikeguchi, who resided in Cedar Glen, posted stuff on social media that was anti-LGBTQ+, according to sheriff’s officials.
“There is no guardrail anymore, particularly online, when many estranged, troubled or angry people now go – where they have their bigotries amplified, solidified and further defined,” Levin said.
The day before the murder, Ikeguchi’s family reported him missing.
Levin exhorts people to reach out if they know someone who might be violent.
“I think those of us in the community of tolerance must understand that we have to meet people where they are,” Levin said. “And sometimes that means tough discussions.”
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