Tributes have been paid to California shop owner and mum of nine, Laura Ann Carleton, described as a “true ally” and “hero”, who was shot dead for raising an LGBTQ+ Pride flag outside her business.
On Friday (18 August), Carleton was pronounced dead after suffering a gunshot wound at her clothing store, Mag.Pi, in Cedar Glen, a community north of San Bernardino, California.
The unidentified suspected killer, who fled the scene armed with a shotgun, was later shot dead by police.
Sheriff’s officials learned during the investigation that the suspect “made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton”.
The death of the 66-year-old, who was a mother of nine children through a blended family with her husband of 28 years, has been met with an outpouring of tributes from across the world.
Carleton, who was known as Lauri, was well-known in the fashion industry after studying at the Art Center School of Design.
Her death has seen Hollywood director Paul Feig (Ghostbusters) call out growing “intolerance” towards the LGBTQ+ community.
‘A true ally’
Taking to Instagram, Feig wrote: “We are all devastated for her husband Bort and her family and the LGBTQ+ community, for whom Lauri was such a true ally.”
Feig called for “intolerance” towards the LGBTQ+ community to end, adding: “Let’s all keep moving forward with tolerance and love. Let’s not let Lauri’s tragic death be in vain.”
Under Feig’s post countless Hollywood moguls shared their shock and sadness, with author and actor Jill Kargman writing that she was “furious” about Lauri’s “devastating” death.
“The hatred and the guns- absolutely enraged by this senseless murder and sending you heartfelt condolences and so much love,” she wrote.
Laura Ann Carleton remembers as a ‘brave wife and mother’
Xena: Warrior Princess star Timothy Omundson commented to say it’s “horrific” that an act of support for the LGBTQ+ community “should lead to such radicalised hatred and violence”.
“Every shop in Arrowhead village should hang a pride flag to honour this brave wife and mother.”
Comedian, actor and cabaret performer Bridget Everett shared that Carleton had always stood up to anti-LGBTQ+ hate by putting up another flag if one was vandalised.
“All that anti-LGBTQ rhetoric has a price. And now, Lauri’s husband Bort, her daughters, friends and community are devastated. And for what?”
Sex and the City star Kristin Davis said she “can’t comprehend what has happened”.
She added: “I want Lauri to be known as the HERO she was and is. I want her her family to know we are thinking of them and for everyone to know that we must continue to stand up for what is right!”
Joining the tributes, Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ and local food co-op, Mountain Provisions posted in remembrance of a “pillar in our community” who “did not identify as LGBTQ+, but spent her time helping & advocating for everyone in the community.”
Lake Arrowhead announced that a vigil for Carleton will be held once her family are able to attend.