Popular California clothing store owner Lauri Carleton, 66, shot dead by man after argument over pride flag outside shop

BySumanti Sen
Aug 21, 2023 09:15 AM IST

Lauri Carleton was gunned down outside the store last week, following which police fatally shot the gunman

A man shot dead the owner of apopular California clothing store after making “disparaging remarks” about a Pride flag that was hung outside her store. 66-year-old Lauri Carleton owned the clothing boutique Magpi in San Bernardino. She was gunned down outside the store last week, following which police fatally shot the gunman.

 Lauri Carleton owned the clothing boutique Magpi in San Bernardino (Mountain Provisions Cooperative/Facebook)
Lauri Carleton owned the clothing boutique Magpi in San Bernardino (Mountain Provisions Cooperative/Facebook)

Police said that Lauri had an altercation with a man who “made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store,” according to KABC. He shot Lauri at one point during the argument, and then fled on foot. Lauri was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Responding officers found the suspect, who refused to drop his handgun. “When deputies attempted to contact the suspect, a lethal force encounter occurred and the suspect was pronounced deceased,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said, according to New York Post. The name of the suspect has not been released.

‘Her death will not be in vain’

Tributes poured in for Lauri, who was well known in the community. A convenience store calledMountain Provisions Cooperative remembered her in a Facebook post. “In loving memory of our dear friend, mom to many, ally, organizer, entrepreneur, founding member and soul of our co-op Lauri Carleton,” the post says. “Lauri was a pillar in our community, an immovable force in her values for equality, love, and justice. If you knew Lauri you know she loved hard, laughed often, and nurtured and protected those she cared about. She was a force, she loved to crack jokes and wanted to live as joyful of a life as possible. We will continue to stand for the values she so selflessly stood for. Her death will not be in vain”.

“Lauri and her husband Bort were pivotal in organizing our Free Store which provided free food and supplies for 4 months after the blizzard. Lauri put her whole heart into keeping it going as long as we could. Pay an act of kindness forward in her honor. Our community needs as much as love as we can get right now,” it added.

Tim Bagley, a friend of Lauri, wrote in a Facebook post, “Our friend, Lauri Carleton, was shot and killed for having a rainbow flag outside her store in Lake Arrowhead, California. In the past when her Pride flag was removed or vandalized, she’d just put up another one. This time she confronted him and she was shot multiple times and killed. All the hateful rhetoric against the LGBTQ community has a price. Lauri was an amazing person and constant LGBTQ ally. My love goes out to Lauri’s wonderful husband, Bort, and their children, and all of Lauri’s friends. This loss is heartbreaking. Thank you to all the allies who support the LGBTQ community. Keep fighting hate and fear with your love. May you rest in peace Lauri.”

Film director Paul Feig, who knew Lauri, wrote on X, “Lauri Carleton was my friend. She was a wonderful person who did so much for the LGBTQ+ community as well as the community at large. What happened to her is an absolute tragedy. If people don’t think anti-gay & trans rhetoric isn’t dangerous, think again.”

A non-profit organisation namedLake Arrowhead LGBTQ wrote, “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. 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.”

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