Man arrested en route to LA Pride with assault rifles pleads not guilty to weapons charges
A man who was arrested on the same day as the Orlando Pulse shooting on his way to LA Pride with explosives and assault rifles in his car has pleaded not guilty to weapons charges.
The accused is charged with unlawful possession of an assault weapon, possession of a destructive device on a public street, manufacturing or importing large magazines and carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle.
James Wesley Howell, of Charlestown Indiana, was also charged with possessing a destructive device to which his attorney has not responded.
According to Authorities, Howell was stopped in Santa Monica with a loaded AR-15 rifle with magazines set up to be changed rapidly.
He also had 15 pounds of chemicals mixed to use as explosives.
When stopped, Howell said he was heading to LA Pride. He was arrested that day, the same day 49 people were killed and dozens more injured at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
The mayor of Los Angeles responded at the time to say the Pride march would go ahead, and the same as Washington DC, would hold a minute’s silence in solidarity with Orlando.
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The Santa Monica police were tipped off to the man when someone reported a “prowler”.
Speaking the next day the mayor of West Hollywood Lauren Meister said the Pride would go ahead but would be on high alert.
LA mayor Eric Garcetti said citizens won’t “not shrink back into the closet”. He added: “This is a society we love broadly and openly.”
The City of Orlando will mark the upcoming anniversary of the tragic shooting in the Pulse gay nightclub by holding A Day Of Love & Kindness.
49 innocent people died in the shooting in Orlando’s gay Pulse nightclub last June, and many more were injured – making the incident the biggest mass shooting in US history.
The first anniversary of the terrible event is approaching on June 12 this year, and ahead of the date, the city announced it would mark with an event celebrating love and kindness.