Santa Monica, California, police arrested a heavily-armed white man early Sunday morning in West Hollywood. Claiming to be waiting for a friend so the two could go to the L.A. Gay Pride Parade, according to the LA Times, police say he was carrying numerous weapons, explosives, and ammunition in his car, the report said.
Although his name has yet to be released, officers arrested the suspect just hours after Omar Mateen fatally shot 50 people, and wounded 53 others, at the Pulse LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida, before police engaged him in a shootout, killing him.
Officials do not believe the incidents are related.
Another Potential LGBT Hate Crime?
An anonymous person called in a report of a “suspected prowler” at about 5 a.m. local time. When authorities arrived, the man they found in a white Acura said he was going to the Gay Pride parade, but waiting for a friend.
Suspicious of the man, they decided to inspect his car and, according to the LA Times report, officers found:
“Several weapons and a lot of ammunition as well as tannerite, an ingredient that could be used to create a pipe bomb.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles announced the arrest at the kickoff of the LA Gay Pride Parade, which is part of the 46th annual Gay Pride Festival, according to CBC. Mayor Garcetti noted that officials are planning a press event later today where further details will be released.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the FBI is “assisting,” in the arrest, but she wouldn’t give any further details.
What Did Officers Really Find?
ProPublica reporter, Robert Gaturechi, tweeted a notification that truly outlines the seriousness of the man’s arrest. It was a screenshot of a notification that went out to all top city and police officials about the suspect and the weapons found. According to the tweet, Sergeant Yoshino from the Arson and Explosives Detail tweeted an advisory that stated when authorities arrived at 1745 11th Street, Santa Monica to inspect the suspect’s car:
“…Units discovered 5 lbs mixed tannerite type powder with assault weapons, long rifles, clips loaded and taped together, camouflage outfit, and a security badge. [sic]”
Source: this just went out to top LA law enforcement officials. Suspect w/ assault weapons, camo arrested in WeHo. pic.twitter.com/9pfBt72spK
— Robert Faturechi (@RobertFaturechi) June 12, 2016
Tannerite is a powdered ingredient used often to make pipe bombs. Together with the assault weapons, rifles and camo gear, the situation could have gotten way out of hand. Not to mention the report didn’t mention to where the security badge granted access.
Gay Pride Parade Almost Called Off
A West Hollywoord city official who wished to remain anonymous to the LA Times confirmed the arrest was made, and stressed that security would be intensified at the LA Pride events Sunday.
Today’s festivities in West Hollywood almost didn’t happen, as the LA Times report notes event organizers and city officials talked about canceling the festival altogether in response to the mass shooting in Orlando, but ultimately decided against this course of action.
Both the West Hollywood and the Orlando incidents are ongoing investigations, though officials don’t believe they are connected. Stay tuned to LiberalAmerica.org for updates to both stories as they come in.
Watch this video report on the Santa Monica arrest for more details:
Watch this video for further details on the arrest made before the Gay Pride Parade: