Laura Carleton’s murder over Pride flag captured on store surveillance camera

Travis Ikeguchi appeared to “flinch” before fatally shooting Laura Carleton during a heated dispute over a Pride flag, surveillance footage has revealed.

Authorities say Ikeguchi, 27, hurled homophobic slurs at Carleton over a rainbow flag flying from her Mag.Pi store in Cedar Glen, California, before firing a single shot that killed the 66-year-old mother-of-nine.

The fatal shooting, which unfolded on 18 August, was captured on the store’s closed-circuit cameras, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

An acquaintance of Carleton’s who viewed the disturbing footage told the Times that Ikeguchi appeared to momentarily pause before opening fire.

“He then almost flinched as if thinking twice but then went for it, grabbed the gun and then aimed it and shot Lauri,” the acquaintance told the Times.

“That caused her to fall back onto the floor, and then the door swung closed, and then he shot one shot through that door and then took off.”

Carleton was holding a mobile phone at the time of the deadly altercation, the acquaintance said.

She was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders.

Ikeguchi was later tracked down and shot and killed about a mile away after opening fire on deputies, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office told The Independent that deputies do not wear body worn cameras or have dash cameras.

Investigations into both shootings are continuing.

Laura Carleton was a ‘true ally’ of the LGBTQ+ community (Mountain Provisions Cooperative)
Laura Carleton was a ‘true ally’ of the LGBTQ+ community (Mountain Provisions Cooperative)

Ikeguchi had a lengthy history of making hate-filled homophobic and racist remarks on social media.

He pinned a burning Pride flag to the top of his account on X, formerly known as Twitter, and posted virulent anti-law enforcement remarks on X and the far-right platform Gab, an The Independent review of his social media footprint shows.

It has since emerged that Ikeguchi’s father, David Ikeguchi, is a state trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol.

Carleton meanwhile is survived by her husband Bort, and nine children from their blended family.

Laura Carleton’s killing was captured on her store’s closed-circuit cameras (KABC)
Laura Carleton’s killing was captured on her store’s closed-circuit cameras (KABC)

Daughter Ari Carleton said her mother had faced repeated threats of violence over her staunch support of the LGBTQ+ community.

“She was murdered over a pride flag that she proudly hung on her storefront. Make no mistake, this was a hate crime,” Ari wrote in an Instagram post.

Vandals had ripped down Pride flags hanging outside the Mag.Pi store several times in recent years. Each time, her mother would replace them with bigger ones, Ari said.

“She was fearless, cool and compassionate – always putting others first.”

A memorial fund has been set up by the Mountain Provisions Cooperative in Lake Arrowhead to help champion causes and values that Carleton supported.

The Lauri Carleton Memorial Fund “aims to keep her spirit alive” by supporting community groups in the area.

In the wake of her murder, LGBTQ+ rights groups have warned of spiralling levels of homophobic violence against members of the community.