While the country mourns the horrific shooting that took place last night in Orlando, the Los Angeles Police Department has arrested a man who was caught with an enormous amount of firepower in his car on his way to the LA Pride parade.
According to The LA Times, LAPD officers received a call about a “suspected prowler” near 11th and Olympic Boulevard early Sunday morning. Concerned neighbors told officers they saw the man knocking on doors and loitering in the area. Responding officers stopped a man who told officers he was “waiting for a friend”, and planned to attend the city’s gay pride parade later on Sunday. After the officers examined his vehicle, though, they found some disturbing contraband. The man was packing several rifles, including one “assault rifle”, a large amount of ammunition, and a quantity of tannerite, an ingredient used in some pipe bombs. The white Acura had Indiana plates, and was found with all the doors open and in addition to the dangerous items, police found a red gasoline canister, a green blanket, and several smaller items piled on the sidewalk nearby.
According to a Twitter post by Santa Monica Chief of Police Jacqueline Seabrooks, the suspect told an officer that he “wanting to harm Gay Pride event” when he was arrested. His motives, however, remain unclear as authorities continue to sort them out, although officers have begun searching for the friend he was waiting for.
An officer told the LA Times that “They found him with weapons that were very disconcerting.” He continued, saying that the officers are “taking the appropriate safety precautions,” in the context of the events that happened on Saturday night. A man who pledged allegiance to ISIS committed what is likely to be the largest mass shooting in U.S. history at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. According to CNN, 50 people are confirmed dead, and at least 53 more have been wounded. The gunman responsible, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, was killed in a shootout with police officers. The man found carrying the weapons in California was taken into custody, although officers say there is no clear link between the two incidents.
Officials in LA strongly considered calling off the Pride Parade completely, but decided to move forward with the annual event, albeit with ramped-up security measures, including undercover police officers in the crowd. West Hollywood City Councilwoman Lindsey Horvath told press in a statement that although the LAPD was stepping up security around the parade and other events, authorities had no reason to believe that there was any imminent danger. She continued, saying;
‘Gun violence on the LGBTQ family during Pride Month makes me sick. The deadliest mass shooting in America happened to LGBTQ people on Latin night. While we mourn this heartbreaking loss, we must also rededicate ourselves to the fight for full equality for all people. No one is equal unless everyone is equal.’
Fortunately, the LA Pride Parade began at 10:45am and has proceeded without incident.