Authorities Investigating Potential Second Terror Attack on LGBT Community From Sunday
The nation mourns after the tragic events of Orlando, Florida this weekend, where a gunman armed with an assault rifle entered Pulse Nightclub and opened fire killing 49 and injuring another 53. But a second incident on Sunday is raising concern when a heavily armed man with a history of violent behavior was arrested on his way to a gay pride event in California. This incident had nothing to do with “radical Islam,” but with the epidemic of gun violence and mental health in the United States.
On Sunday, authorities in Santa Monica received a call of a suspicious individual and arrested James Howell of Indiana after he’d been knocking on people’s windows. After the arrest, police found enough weapons on Howell that could have led to a second mass tragedy within just hours of Orlando. When in custody, Howell told police he was heading toward the Los Angeles Pride festival in West Hollywood. Police searched Howell’s vehicle where they found “three assault rifles, high capacity magazines and ammunition,” along with “a five gallon bucket with chemicals capable of forming an improvised explosive device,” Jacqueline A. Seabrooks, chief of police, said in a press release from the Santa Monica Police Department. A source not authorized to speak to the media because of the ongoing investigation said camouflaged clothing was also found in the vehicle. Seabrooks later clarified that it was unclear what Howell’s intentions were upon arriving at the gay pride festival and that police were still investigating his motives. Howell is scheduled to appear in Los Angeles court on Tuesday. As the man remains in custody, details about his life back in Indiana have begun to emerge. Howell is gay, loves fast cars and guns, and has a history of violent and aggressive behavior, with the latest incident coming last October when he pointed a gun at a neighbor. Howell was also arrested for speeding, fleeing police, and reckless driving that same month. It remains to be seen what Howell had planned when he arrived at the L.A. pride event, but for someone with several run-ins with the law and clear mental instability, his access to dangerous weapons should at least raise some eyebrows.
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