The gay pride parade in Los Angeles is going on as scheduled today after an arrest of a suspect in West Hollywood who was heading to the festival with an “arsenal” in his car.
The suspect reportedly had explosive powder, assault weapons and a camouflage outfit in his car and told officials that the gay festival was his destination.
West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister said the festival would go on as planned, including a march and a moment of silence. “Public safety is our No. 1 priority and the city of West Hollywood is on high alert,” Meister said.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the person was apprehended by the Santa Monica Police Department last night on the “tip of a neighborhood person.”
The L.A. Times said that tip was a call of a suspected prowler near Olympic Boulevard and 11th Street early today. The suspect’s car had Indiana license plates and the explosive ingredient found in the car along with guns and ammo was tannerite. The law enforcement source told the Times that the suspect “appeared to be white.”
“We all wanted to be here this morning but we did not want to be here under these circumstances,” Garcetti told reporters, standing among the L.A. Pride organizers.
He had few details to offer about the arrest, but offered encouragement to the LGBT community.
“As Americans we will not shrink away, we will not be stuck in our homes, we will not go back into closets,” Garcetti said, adding that America was targeted “because this is a society where we love openly.”
“All of our hearts today are with Orlando,” he said in reference to the Pulse nightclub slaughter.
Garcetti said officials believe now that the L.A. arrest was “completely unrelated” to the Orlando shooter.
“We are safe, we are protected, our law enforcement officials are here,” he said. “This march goes on… we continue to love in the face of hate.”