Cops: Armed Man Didn't Threaten LA Pride

Investigators don't know why Indiana man had guns, chemicals
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2016 12:21 AM CDT
Cops: Armed Man Didn't Threaten LA Pride
This June 12, 2016, law enforcement booking photo provided by the Santa Monica Police Department in California shows James Wesley Howell, 20, of Indiana.   (Santa Monica Police Department via AP)

Police have backtracked after initially saying James Wesley Howell wanted to do harm to Sunday's LA Pride parade—but it's still far from clear what the 20-year-old was doing thousands of miles from home with a car full of guns and chemicals used to make explosives. The AP reports that police have found no link to the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. Police say an earlier statement about the Indiana man wanting to do harm to the gay pride event "was a misstatement," and that he only told them that he planned to attend the festival. Cops found the chemicals and three assault rifles in his car after he was found behaving strangely in Santa Monica early Sunday, the Santa Monica Observer reports.

Howell’s friend Joseph Greeson says Howell is bisexual and bears no ill will toward gay people, the Los Angeles Times reports. He says Howell's parents in Jeffersonville, Ind. hadn't seen him for days and had called Greeson's parents looking for him. On a Facebook page that has now been taken down, Howell shares anti-Hillary Clinton and pro-marijuana posts, as well as assorted conspiracy theories. Howell—who was on probation for an incident involving intimidation with a firearm last year—is being held on weapons and explosives charges. The LA Pride parade went ahead as planned, with Mayor Eric Garcetti calling for unity, the Guardian reports. "We are Orlando, we are Americans, we are all LGBT community members today, we are all part of a country that will not be beaten down," he said. (More LA Pride stories.)

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