The owner of a popular California clothing store was shot dead by a man who made “disparaging remarks” about a Pride flag that was hanging outside her store.
Lauri Carelton, 66, owner of the clothing boutique Magpi in San Bernadino, suffered from a fatal gunshot wound outside the store on Friday afternoon, according to reports.
The gunman was then fatally shot by police while fleeing the area.
The business owner had reportedly gotten into an altercation with a man who police “made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store,” according to KABC.
At some point during the argument, the suspect shot Carelton before fleeing on foot. Carelton was pronounced dead at the scene.
Responding officers located the suspect nearby armed with a handgun, which he refused to drop.
“When deputies attempted to contact the suspect, a lethal force encounter occurred and the suspect was pronounced deceased,” the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Department said.
The suspect’s name has not yet been released.
Carelton was well known in her community, and tributes from celebrities and local LGBTQ groups have been poured in on social media since her death.
“She was shot and killed Friday in her store near Lake Arrowhead because she had a Pride flag in front of her store,” wrote “Sex and the City” star Kristin Davis on Instagram.
“It is abundantly clear that divisive senseless hate is the only motive for this hate crime. Lauri was a strong ally, when her Pride flags were stolen she quickly replaced them,” she added.
Director Paul Feig called Carelton a “wonderful friend,” and said she was murdered by a 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.”
Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ said Carelton was “our friend and supporter.”
“Lauri did not identify as LGBTQ+, but spent her time helping & advocating for everyone in the community.”
Magpi’s storefront has been draped in Pride flags and piled high with flowers since the shooting.
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