On August 22 2023, an Imgur user shared the following Twitter screenshots, which asserted that they showed the tweet pinned by “the murderer who killed Lauri Ann Carlton [sic] in cold blood for having a pride flag on her business”:
This is the pinned tweet of the murderer who killed Lauri Ann Carlton in cold blood for having a pride flag on her business. His intentions were not a mystery. His pic.twitter.com/7QCr7Lu2t8
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_) August 22, 2023
Lauri Ann Carleton
Lauri Ann Carleton was a well known business owner in her community. On August 21 2023, a CBS News article (“California woman killed after argument over Pride flag hanging outside her store”) reported:
A Southern California clothing store owner was shot and killed after an argument about a rainbow Pride flag hanging outside her business, police said, as the LGBTQ+ community continues to face violence and threats across America.
Laura Ann “Lauri” [Carlton], 66, died from a gunshot wound Friday evening [August 18 2023] at her store, Mag.Pi, in Cedar Glen … The suspected shooter also is dead following “a lethal force encounter” with deputies as the suspect ran away after the shooting, authorities said.
An August 20 2023 Instagram post by filmmaker Paul Feig was embedded in the article. In addition to a photograph of Feig and Carleton, Feig wrote:
Our wonderful friend Lauri Carlton (seen in this picture) was murdered yesterday in her store @magpi_shop in Lake Arrowhead by a 27 year old man who didn’t like that she had a large pride flag hanging outside of her shop. He ripped it down and when she confronted him about it he shot and killed her. We are all devastated for her husband Bort and her family and the LGBTQ+ community, for whom Lauri was such a true ally. Her alleged murderer was later shot and killed by the San Bernardino police and so no longer poses a threat to the community. But this intolerance has to end. Anyone using hateful language against the LGBTQ+ community has to realize their words matter, that their words can inspire violence against innocent loving people. Let’s all keep moving forward with tolerance and love. Let’s not let Lauri’s tragic death be in vain.
Fashion and retail trade publication Women’s Wear Daily (WWD.com) published a piece honoring Carleton. Advocacy group GLAAD acknowledged the incident in an August 21 2023 press release, “GLAAD Responds to the Murder of Laura Carleton as Community Mourns”:
In yet another attack motivated by anti-LGBTQ hate, Laura Ann Carleton, known by friends as Lauri, was shot and killed in her Lake Arrowhead, CA clothing store for displaying a rainbow pride flag. Carleton, 66, was a mother of 9, ally, and a beloved member of her community.
The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office reported that the currently unnamed man who murdered Carleton entered her business, Mag Pi, and “made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store,” before shooting her to death.
News stories referenced the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office as a source for the details of the incident. On August 18 2023, that entity issued a press release, “Homicide Suspect Pronounced Deceased After Lethal Force Encounter Occurs in Cedar Glen”; it read in part:
On Friday, August 18, 2023, at 5:00 p.m., deputies from the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station responded to a report of a person who had been shot at the Mag Pi clothing store on Hook Creek Road, in Cedar Glen. When deputies arrived, they located the victim, identified as Laura Ann Carleton, suffering from a gunshot wound. Emergency medical personnel pronounced Carleton deceased at the scene.
During the response to the initial scene on Hook Creek Road, deputies received updates from Sheriff’s Dispatch indicating the suspect, who has not been identified, fled on foot, and was seen on Torrey Road, east of Highway 173.
Deputies located the suspect near Torrey Road and Rause Rancho Road, armed with a handgun. When deputies attempted to contact the suspect, a lethal force encounter occurred and the suspect was pronounced deceased. No deputies were injured during the incident.
A separate press release was published on August 21 2023:
The suspect in the August 18, 2023, murder of Laura Ann Carleton has been identified as 27-year-old Travis Ikeguchi of Cedar Glen. During the investigation, Ikeguchi did not have identification on his person and investigators were unable to immediately identify him.
Travis Ikeguchi’s Pinned Tweet
The second press release provided a name for the suspect, Travis Ikeguchi. A Twitter account using that name published the following tweet on June 13 2023, and pinned it:
What to do with the LGBTQP flag? pic.twitter.com/8O57VSrn2Y
— Travis Ikeguchi (@TravisIkeguchi) June 13, 2023
In a second tweet depicted on Imgur, Caraballo stated that Ikeguchi was a fan of right-wing blogger Matt Walsh. In May 2023, Ikeguchi tweeted in reply to Walsh:
Interestingly Matt Walsh was interviewed by Joe Rogan about same-sex marriage and they cannot see eye to eye on the subject because Joe Rogan is pro-same sex marriage. Joe Rogan is a SHILL.
— Travis Ikeguchi (@TravisIkeguchi) May 17, 2023
An August 22 2023 Imgur post featured a tweet about the August 18 2023 murder of store owner Lauri Ann Carleton, often misspelled as “Lauri Ann Carlton.” In a press release, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office said “detectives learned the suspect made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton.” Travis Ikeguchi was identified as the deceased suspect on August 21 2023, and Twitter account under Ikeguchi’s name indeed pinned the June 13 2023 tweet seen in the screenshot.