A heavily armed man who said he was heading to a Los Angeles-area pride parade was arrested early on Sunday in nearby Santa Monica, but there was no apparent link with the deadly mass shooting in Florida, authorities said.
Officers responding to a call from a member of the public found James Howell of Indiana sitting in a car with Indiana plates alongside three assault rifles and high capacity magazines, Santa Monica Police Department said.
He also had a five-gallon (19-liter) bucket with chemicals that could be used to make an improvised explosive device, the police department said in a statement.
“The suspect did make an initial statement to the effect that he was going to go to the pride festival,” the department’s Lieutenant Saul Rodriguez told reporters.
“Beyond that he did not make any additional statement saying that he was going to do anything further than that. We do not have any additional information related to what his intentions were,” Rodriguez said.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the suspect was 20 years of age. Police in Santa Monica, a seaside community west of Los Angeles, said its officers were called to investigate a report of suspicious activity after Howell was seen repeatedly knocking on a resident’s door and window.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, speaking at the opening of the LA Pride Festival in West Hollywood, a small municipality adjacent to Los Angeles, said separately that Howell had told police he was on his way to the parade there. But Garcetti said the arrest appeared unrelated to Sunday’s Florida attack. (Reuters)