California shopkeeper killed for hoisting rainbow Pride flag

The image shows a woman carrying the rainbow pride flag. — Reuters

A US shop owner Laura Ann Carleton was shot dead by a man for hoisting a rainbow pride flag outside her shop in California, as a consequence of a dispute over LGBTQ ideology.

Carleton was found with a bullet wound at her Mag Pi shop in Cedar Glen, California, on Friday.

A suspect – who fled the scene on foot – was killed by police when found nearby, allegedly still armed.

Hollywood director Paul Feig described Carleton as a “wonderful friend” in a social media post showing the picture of the two together.

Before shooting the victim, the suspect allegedly made “disparaging remarks” against the rainbow flag, according to the police. At the scene, Carleton was pronounced deceased.

When the suspect was found, he was carrying a weapon, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department.

At this point, “a lethal force encounter occurred and the suspect was pronounced deceased”.

Feig, who is well-known for his work on the Freaks and Geeks TV series and films such as Bridesmaids, claimed that his friend had been shot after confronting the suspect who had torn down the flag.

In an Instagram post, he said he was “devastated” for Carleton’s family and the LGBTQ+ community, “for whom Lauri was such a true ally”.

“This intolerance has to end,” he wrote. “Anyone using hateful language against the LGBTQ+ community has to realise their words matter, that their words can inspire violence against innocent loving people.”

Local group Lake Arrowhead LGBT said the incident marked a “very sad day” for the area and that Ms Carleton, a “friend and supporter”, would be “truly missed”.

She was “murdered defending her LGBTQ+ Pride flags in front of her store”, the group wrote in its own Instagram post, reported CNN.

“Lauri did not identify as LGBTQ+, but spent her time helping & advocating for everyone in the community.”

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