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A California business owner was fatally shot after a dispute with a man over a gay pride flag hanging at her clothing store, according to police.
Deputies with the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office responded to a clothing shop called Mag Pi in Cedar Glen Friday at about 5 p.m. for reports of a shooting, the sheriff’s office said. They discovered the store’s owner, 66-year-old Laura Ann Carleton, had a gunshot wound.
She was pronounced dead at the store, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
Authorities said, during their investigation, “detectives learned the suspect made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton.”
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Person holding and waving gay pride flag. (REUTERS/Axel Schmidt)
The suspect, who has not been identified, fled the store on foot after the shooting. Police were able to track the suspect down, finding him with a handgun that same day. The suspect was killed by deputies in “a lethal force encounter,” the sheriff’s department said.
“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,” the sheriff’s office press release stated.
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Carleton, who went by the name Lauri, is described on Mag Pi’s website as a “mother of a blended family of nine children” who has been “married to the same man for 28 years.”
The shopping center in Cedar Glen, Calif., where a business owner was shot dead. (Google Maps )
Carleton was well known in the area, according to local media reports.
“Lauri was a pillar in our community, an immovable force in her values for equality, love, and justice,” grocery store Mountain Provisions Cooperative posted in a tribute to the business owner. “If you knew Lauri you know she loved hard, laughed often, and nurtured and protected those she cared about. She was a force, she loved to crack jokes and wanted to live as joyful of a life as possible. We will continue to stand for the values she so selflessly stood for. Her death will not be in vain.”
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The food cooperative also called on people to “Fly your flags in honor of Lauri.”
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in California. (Google Maps )
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The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for additional comment on the case. The shooting remains under investigation.