Lauri Carleton: LGBTQ+ community mourns store owner killed over Pride Flag

Los Angeles' LGBTQ+ community gathered at Mag.Pi in Studio City Tuesday night to mourn Lauri Carleton, the store owner who was shot and killed outside her store in Lake Arrowhead last week.

Artwork in many different forms was placed in front of the store, from signs to portraits and even an alter to memorialize Carleton. Mourners, like Noah Reach, said Carleton's murder is provoking outrage and resolve.

"As queer people, we are well aware she died protecting our flag and I think there's a lot to be said about the circumstances that she met," Reach said.

San Bernardino County deputies said the 66-year-old mother of nine was killed last Friday, Aug. 18, by Travis Ikeguchi, after she confronted him for trying to tear down the Pride flag in front of her store. 


Ikeguchi's social media features hate-filled posts, including one post showing a burning rainbow flag.

"There is a new charged homophobia, a new charged transphobia that has violent consequences," Reach said. "And there are so many members of our community, so many LGBTQIA people, so many of our allies that have been trying to ring the bell. We have been screaming at the top of our lungs that there are people out there who want us dead."

It's a sentiment echoed by Derek Marshall, a friend of Carleton's and an openly gay Congressional candidate. 

"She was total spitfire," Marshall said. "We had a number of conversations where we talked about the importance of visibility. At my house I fly the Pride flag and I know she talked about flying the Pride flag at her store."

The group Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ is also vowing to keep up her fight. They've announced a memorial fund to keep up her fight for equity and inclusion. Outside the memorials in Studio City and Cedar Glen, there are Pride flags — a gesture of defiance in what many say is a time of fear.

"I think Lauri represented the very best of us," Reach said. "Compassionate, the most caring. She represented love, and she lost her life defending love."