Sunday, June 12, 2016

Man With Assault Rifles And Explosives Arrested In Advance Of LA Pride

UPDATE: The LAPD has released the man's name - James Howell of Indiana - and his mug shot.

Los Angeles police are reporting a man in possession of explosives and assault rifles has been arrested out of concerns for attendees at Los Angeles Pride.

Early Sunday, Santa Monica police received a call of a suspected prowler near Olympic Boulevard and 11th Street. Patrol officers responded and encountered an individual who told officers he was waiting for a friend. That led officers to inspect the car and find several weapons and a lot of ammunition as well as tannerite, an ingredient that could be used to create a pipe bomb.

The car had Indiana plates. The man made comments that he was in town for the Pride event in West Hollywood this weekend. The source said authorities did not know of any connection between the gay nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday morning and the Santa Monica incident. The investigation has been taken over by the FBI. The source said the man appeared to be white.

A city official in West Hollywood also confirmed the arrest and stressed that officials were beefing up security at the gay pride event.

"They found him with weapons that were very disconcerting," said the source, adding officials are "taking the appropriate safety precautions."

The parade comes hours after the attack at the Orlando club that killed 50 people. At least 53 were injured in the deadliest shooting in modern American history after a gunman took hostages. The gunman has been identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, a U.S. law enforcement official said.

One source in West Hollywood said there was discussion of calling off the parade but that officials decided to go forward, with heavy security including undercover officers in the crowd.

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