Man Who Shot Store Owner for Flying Pride Flag Was a Far-Right Conspiracist

He posted anti-gay and antisemitic conspiracy theories, and followed and reposted Jordan Peterson and Matt Walsh.
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The man who shot and killed the store owner last week over her display of a pride flag outside her store was a far-right conspiracy theorist who shared deeply anti-LGBTQ and antisemitic content on his social media accounts.

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.


The shooter fled the scene but police officers tracked him down later on Friday. When confronted, police said in a press conference, the 27-year-old fired at multiple patrol vehicles with an unregistered semi-automatic handgun before he was shot in what was described by officials as a “lethal force encounter.”

Authorities said they are continuing to investigate the murder as a possible hate crime. While they believe the shooter acted alone, authorities are continuing to look into the possibility that he was affiliated with  a hate group.

But a review of 27-year-old’s social media accounts on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and the far-right social network Gab, 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.

The shooter spent much of his time online sharing anti-LGBTQ content, reposting and responding to content shared by right-wing figures like commentator Matt Walsh and fringe networks like One America News. His pinned tweet, posted in June, simply showed a rainbow flag on fire with the caption: “What to do with the LGBTQP [sic] flag.”

On Gab, one of his pinned posts was even more explicitly threatening to the LGBTQ community. “We need to STOP COMPROMISING on this LGBT dictatorship and not let them take over our lives,” he wrote. “Stop accepting this abomination that the government is forcing us to submit to these mentally disordered tyrants.”


Another pinned post on Gab featured a link to a video entitled: “When Should You Shoot a Cop,” along with the caption: “There will come a time that we have to do this.” While the shooter’s X profile remains active, his Gab profile was removed late on Monday. X and Gab did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The majority of the suspect’s posts are infused with an overt Christian nationalism, which quickly gives way to virulent antisemitism in much of the content he shared online.

The shooter only followed 19 people on X, including One American News, former President Donald Trump, and conspiracy theorist David Knight, who once worked with Alex Jones. The shooter also followed and boosted rightwing professor and conspiracy theory promoter Jordan Peterson, antivax activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr, and the right-wing satirical website the Babylon Bee.

While law enforcement continues to look into why the shooter carried out the attack, Carleton's daughter, Ari Carleton, told NBC on Monday that her family “doesn’t care” about him.

“We will continue to steer the narrative away from him and towards my mother and honoring her. He is irrelevant,” she told the broadcaster. “The media must stop glorifying these individuals by giving them this platform.”


Laura Ann Carleton, who was a well-known fashion designer in Los Angeles and operated two clothing stores, was also known  for supporting the LGBTQ community. 

“[She] spent her time helping and advocating for everyone in the community,” the Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ group said in a tribute on their Instagram page. 

Carleton, who preferred to be called Lauri, showed her support by putting small rainbow flags in flower pots outside her store and when they were stolen, she would replace them with even bigger ones, her friend Melissa Lawton told CBS.

Carleton is survived by Bort Carleton, her husband of 28 years, and nine children.

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