Travis Ikeguchi was identified as the man who shot and killed Mag Pi store owner Laura Ann Carleton after making “disparaging remarks” about her store’s rainbow flag and cutting it down, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said in a news conference, posted by ABC7.
In a news release, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim as Carleton, saying she was shot at her store in Cedar Glen, California, on August 18, 2023.
On X, formerly Twitter, Ikeguchi pinned a picture of a burning pride flag and wrote in June 2023, “What to do with the LGBTQP flag?” Also in June, he reposted a tweet from Tom Hoefling, an independent 2016 candidate for president, that read, “Christians shouldn’t be like a pebble in a landslide. They should be a rock that others can shelter behind as the world crashes toward destruction.”
His social media pages on Gab and X are filled with disturbing rants, including references to Hitler, freemasonry and Satan. In August, he wrote on Gab, “You think that Texas is the most conservative state in the union? Then look at Texas’ cities and it is a totally different story especially in Houston. Houston has allowed too much sinful stuff like pride month parades and abortion to help out on their profit not on their souls.”
In another post in June 2023, he urged Republicans to vote for Hoefling. He also shared posts critical of President Biden and his son, Hunter, by a prominent conservative, Dinesh D’Souza. Although he shared a slew of conservative news stories, Ikeguchi also wrote posts critical of former President Trump and his supporters, including, “Trump supporters are mocking and acting to be like Christians; this the sign of the new Antichrist!”
In another post, he wrote, “Trump is no god! God won’t like the title of your Twitter account. It is a blasphemy for you to have a title god emperor Trump; what it says is that you would worship and idolized a man that denies the existence of God the Father-that denies Jesus Christ (Heavenly Father’s Son).”
He made a similar post about the LGBTQ flag on Gab. Sheriff’s officials confirmed in the news conference that Ikeguchi posted content critical to the LGBTQ community and law enforcement on X and Gab.
“There is only one way to the path of salvation and to have eternal life and that is through Jesus Christ. And yes, the path is narrow,” his profile reads.
The victim was 66 years old and a Cedar Glen resident, the sheriff’s release said. Her store’s website says she also went by the name Lauri Carleton.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Travis Ikeguchi Made ‘Several Disparaging Remarks About a Rainbow Flag’ Before Shooting & Killing Lauri Carleton After She Confronted Him About Homophobic Slurs He Was Making, Sheriff Officials Say
Through further investigation, the sheriff’s release says, “detectives learned the suspect made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton.”
Dicus said in the news conference that witnesses followed the suspect after the shooting. Dicus said Ikeguchi, 27, had torn down a “pride or rainbow flag that was hanging outside” the store and yelled homophobic slurs. Carleton was shot when she confronted him about this, Dicus said. A sheriff’s official also said Ikeguchi had “cut down” the flag.
The firearm was not registered to Ikeguchi, who was not a concealed weapon permit holder, Dicus said. It’s believed to be unregistered, sheriff’s officials said.
The sheriff said there were four reported hate crimes in 2022 in the community, none of which seem to be related.
Lauri Carleton’s friend Robin Lyles, told the Los Angeles LGBT Center that Carlton had faced verbal harassment before because of her “support for the LGBTQ+ community.”
“She would get bullied all the time by people at the local restaurants or people walking around. But she wouldn’t take it. Lauri would always challenge them and be in someone’s face. She wasn’t going to let anyone bully her,” Lyles said, according to that organization.
According to that group, Carleton “organized a support pop-up to aid anyone experiencing food and clothing insecurity. She was also a founding member of the Mountain Provisions Cooperative, a group focused on expanding healthy food access to local mountain communities.”
On Friday, August 18, 2023, at 5 p.m., deputies from the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station “responded to a report of a person who had been shot at the Mag Pi clothing store on Hook Creek Road, in Cedar Glen,” according to a news release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
“When deputies arrived, they located the victim, identified as Laura Ann Carleton, suffering from a gunshot wound. Emergency medical personnel pronounced Carleton deceased at the scene,” the release said. “During the response to the initial scene on Hook Creek Road, deputies received updates from Sheriff’s Dispatch indicating the suspect, who has not been identified, fled on foot, and was seen on Torrey Road, east of Highway 173.”
2. Travis Ikeguchi Filled His Social Media Pages With Rants About Abortion, Political Figures & Same Sex Marriage
Ikeguchi filled his page on X with rants about abortion and same sex marriage, writing in June, “Abortion and same-sex marriage are both immoral and are design to destroy humanity one by one. So if someone is pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQP, they are at war against the foundation of family values.”
He also had a page on Gab. The top post, on July 1, 2023, reads, “The answer to abortion and same sex marriage and LGBTQP agenda is the abolition movement of anti-slavery of 1859.” One of his posts shares a video called “when should you shoot a cop,” and his page refers to police officers as agents of Satan.
Other posts he shared or wrote criticized Black Lives Matter, Anthony Fauci, George Soros, President Biden and COVID-19 vaccines. In June, he also reposted a tweet of an OANN story headlined, “LGBTQ Activists Chant ‘We’re Coming For Your Children’ At NYC Drag March.”
He shared a post by Tom Hoefling, “Founder/Chairman, America’s Party,” that read, “Trump supporters really are idiotic. When the Joint Chiefs give POTUS a war plan for attacking a country it isn’t because they want to attack a country. It’s because it is their job to have plans in a file for pretty much every conceivable possible scenario. Sheesh. #Milley”
“Christians stop voting Republicans and vote Tom Hoefling instead!” Ikeguchi wrote in June.
Ikeguchi also reposted a tweet from D’Souza that read, “Biden doesn’t deserve to be impeached, he deserves to be in prison. Do you agree?” He shared another tweet from D’Souza reading, “Hunter Biden couldn’t hide anymore and now he faces the music!”
He retweeted a tweet from Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that read, “In March 2022, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett traveled to Moscow to mediate between Putin and Zelensky. He extracted significant concessions from Putin. But then, he said, the U.S. blocked any deal. War was the plan all along. #Kennedy24.”
However, Ikeguchi wrote multiple tweets critical of Trump and his supporters:
Of Trump, he wrote, “For Trump trying to make a deal and to unite with the democrats is impossible; the democrats want distraction and dividing in this country.”
He reposted another person’s tweet about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis that read, “DeSantis doesn’t even have the stones to debate Gavin Newsom. Pathetic,” but he also shared a post that read, “@GovRonDeSantis is so far above that moron thank God he avoids that fool. If you lived in Ca Alex, you would delete this tweet. @GavinNewsom is Satan incarnate- we don’t dance with evil/neither does DeSantis. Most hated irrelevant punk Gov in the US. No time for garbage. Wake up.”
He also ranted about police, writing, “his cop is a fed and protect criminals. DO NOT TRUST COPS NOT EVEN Connecticut police officers like @CTPOLICELIVE. Do not follow their traps they want to know everything about you to catch you and used against you in court and lie about you. Watch out their sociopathic schemes.”
3. Travis Ikeguchi, Armed With a Handgun, Was Reported Missing the Day Before; He Died in a ‘Lethal Force Encounter’ With Sheriff’s Deputies, Authorities Say
Ikeguchi was reported missing the day before the shooting by his family, sheriff’s officials said in the news conference.
Deputies “located the suspect near Torrey Road and Rause Rancho Road, armed with a handgun,” the sheriff’s news release said. “When deputies attempted to contact the suspect, a lethal force encounter occurred and the suspect was pronounced deceased. No deputies were injured during the incident.”
The Sheriff’s Specialized Investigations Division – Homicide Detail “also responded and assumed the investigation,” the release said.
“This investigation is ongoing, and no further details are being released. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the Homicide Detail at 909-890-4904. Callers wishing to remain anonymous should contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or got to www.wetip.com,” it says.
4. Lauri Carleton Was a Married Mother of a Family of 9 Children
According to Lauri Carleton’s store website, her “career in fashion began early in her teens, working in the family business at Fred Segal Feet in Los Angeles while attending Art Center School of Design.”
It continues, “From there she ran the top fashion shoe floor in the US at Joseph Magnin Century City. Eventually she joined Kenneth Cole almost from its inception and remained there for over fifteen years as an executive, building highly successful businesses, working with factories and design teams in Italy and Spain, and traveling 200 plus days a year.”
According to the website bio:
With a penchant for longevity, she has been married to the same man for 28 years and is the mother of a blended family of nine children, the youngest being identical twin girls. She and her husband have traveled the greater part of the US, Europe and South America. From these travels they have nourished a passion for architecture, design, fine art, food, fashion, and have consequently learned to drink in and appreciate the beauty, style and brilliance of life. Their home of thirty years in Studio City is a reflection of this passion, as well as their getaway- a restored 1920’s Fisherman’s Cabin in Lake Arrowhead. Coveting the simpler lifestyle with family, friends and animals at the lake is enhanced greatly by their 1946 all mahogany Chris-Craft; the ultimate in cultivating a well appreciated and honed lifestyle. Mag.Pi for Lauri is all about tackling everyday life with grace and ease and continuing to dream…
Her husband’s name is Bort Carleton, according to the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
Sheriff’s officials said that Ikeguchi was not on their radar before the shooting.
5. Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ Wrote That Lauri Carleton Was ‘Murdered Defending Her LGBTQ+ Pride Flags in Front of Her Store’
Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ wrote on Facebook, “Today was a very sad day for Lake Arrowhead and for the LGBTQ community. Our friend and supporter Lauri Carleton @magpi_shop was murdered defending her lgbtq+ Pride flags in front of her store in Cedar Glen California.”
The post continued: “Lauri did not identify as LGBTQ+, but spent her time helping & advocating for everyone in the community. She will be truly missed. From what we understand the suspect is no longer a threat.”