Indiana man man arrested with weapons told police he was headed to LA area gay pride parade

Investigators view items removed from a car, left, after a heavily armed man was arrested in Santa Monica, Calif., early Sunday, June 12, 2016. The man reportedly told police he was in the area for West Hollywood's huge gay pride parade. Authorities did not know of any connection between the gay nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday and the Santa Monica arrest. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

The Latest: Chief: Armed suspect did not say he meant harm

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the arrest of an armed man who told police he was heading to a gay pride parade (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

Santa Monica’s police chief says she was incorrect when she said a heavily armed Indiana man told investigators he was headed to a gay pride parade in order to do harm.

Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said in a tweet to The Associated Press that her earlier statement on James Howell was inaccurate. The chief said Howell had only told police that he was going to the event known as LA Pride, and he did not say what he intended to do there.

Police say the 20-year-old Howell was arrested on Sunday morning in Santa Monica with three assault rifles, ammunition, and chemicals that can be used to make explosives.

The arrest came just a few hours after at least 50 people were shot and killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.


6 p.m.

The man arrested with weapons and explosive-making chemicals who told police he was headed to a Los Angeles-area gay pride parade was on probation for an incident with a gun in Indiana.

Clark County court records in Indiana show that James Howell was charged in October with pointing a firearm at someone and with intimidation. He made a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty only to the misdemeanor intimidation charge.

In April, he was given one-year prison sentence that the judge suspended in favor of strict probation.

His probation agreement said that he had to forfeit any weapons that he had.

Police say Howell was arrested on Sunday morning in Santa Monica, California, with three assault rifles and chemicals that can be used to make explosives.


5 p.m.

The apparent Facebook page of a heavily armed man who told police he was headed to a Los Angeles-area gay pride parade is full of pictures of himself with his car and includes opinioned political posts. But it shows no enmity for gays or membership in any movement.

The man in the Facebook page appears to be the same James Wesley Howell in a picture released by police, and the page includes several pictures of a white Acura sedan like the one Howell was arrested in on Sunday.

The page’s most recent public post, from June 3, shows a photo comparing Adolf Hitler to Hillary Clinton. An anti-Clinton, pro-Bernie Sanders photo was posted in February.

The page says he lives in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and he went to high school in nearby Louisville, Kentucky.

It says he recently left a job as a security guard, and he now works as an auditor at a company that makes air filtration products.

Police say Howell was arrested with three assault rifles and chemicals for making explosives in Santa Monica, California, early Sunday.


2:45 p.m.

Police say a heavily armed Indiana man arrested on his way to a Southern California gay pride parade told them he wanted to do harm to the event.

Santa Monica police said in a statement that the suspect arrested Sunday is 20-year-old James Wesley Howell of Indiana.

Howell was first reported as a prowler by concerned neighbors.

Police say that when they arrested him, they found three assault rifles, high-capacity magazines and ammunition and a five-gallon bucket with chemicals that could be used to make an explosive device.

Santa Monica police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks tweeted that Howell told officers after he arrested that he wanted to harm the gay pride event in West Hollywood that was taking place about seven miles away later Sunday. Hundreds of thousands attend the annual event.

His arrest came as the mass shooting that killed 50 people at a gay nightclub in Florida was still unfolding.


2:15 p.m.

A heavily armed man who told police he was heading to a Los Angeles-area gay pride parade was first spotted by Santa Monica residents who thought he looked suspicious.

Heriberto Gomez, a lifelong resident who says he watches over the neighborhood, stepped outside at 3 a.m. Sunday and saw the man’s white sedan parked in the wrong direction on the street.

Gomez says the man ran across the street and hid in bushes and overhanging trees. Gomez says it appeared the man saw him.

He says it was too dark outside, and the man was too far away for him to provide a description. Another neighbor called police, and the man was arrested.

A law-enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that guns and explosive materials were found in the suspect’s vehicle. The person spoke on condition of anonymity, citing a lack of authorization to speak publicly about the investigation.


RELATED: Deadly mass shooting in Orlando, Fl. nightclub being investigated as act of terrorism, June 12, 2016.

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