Police took a suspect into custody in West Hollywood, California, after searching his car and discovering an arsenal of weapons which included assault weapons, a camouflage outfit, and explosive powder. The suspect’s vehicle had Indiana plates, and he appears to be a white male.
According to CNN affiliate KABC, citing unnamed sources in local law enforcement, the suspect told police that he was in town to attend the Los Angeles Pride Festival, which is currently underway.
“They found him with weapons that were very disconcerting,” said the source, adding officials are “taking the appropriate safety precautions.”
Santa Monica Police spokesman Saul Rodriguez confirmed the suspect was from Indiana and that weapons were found in the car, however, he said that police “were not aware of what the suspect’s intentions were at this point.”
Neighbors alerted police after the suspect exhibited suspicious behavior by knocking on doors and “loitering in the area,” Rodriguez said.
Police report they were searching for the suspect’s white Honda Acura on Sunday morning before the arrest. When they found it, all four of the car’s doors were open. The suspect was piling a red gasoline canister, small green blanket, and other items on the nearby sidewalk when police came upon his vehicle.
The FBI have taken over the investigation and is currently on the scene, but so far there have been no reports of any links between this incident and the shooting in Orlando, Florida, which claimed the lives of at least 50 people inside Pulse, a popular local gay night club.
We’re assisting our local partners,” Los Angeles FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told CNN.
However, Eimiller could not provide any additional details at that time. A police news conference is expected shortly. We will update this story as more details develop.
Update: 2:11pm central.
There are also reports that the suspect was in possession of a security badge of some kind, it’s unclear if he planned on using that identification to gain access to the event or if he was working for the event.
And here’s a photo of what police found outside his vehicle.
Police have identified 20-year-old James Wesley Howell as the suspect arrested in connection with a possible mass shooting plot targeting the Los Angeles gay pride festival. Here’s a photo of the suspect.
Update 2:00am 6/13/2016
There are reports of a video shot in June 2015 showing Howell shooting a rapid fire gun into the ground while proclaiming that it was “fun as hell.”
TMZ reports that Howell was arrested within the last year after he pointed a gun at gun at a neighbor in a threatening manner during an argument. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of “intimidation” and the local district attorney dropped the firearm charge. The Indiana native was still serving a one-year probation at the time of his arrest on Sunday.
Howell rated the Louisville Metro Police Department with only a one-star review claiming that “They are slow AF so they only got one finger as I’m shifting gears.”
Howell’s Facebook page has him listed as a former security guard at Universal Protection services in Clarksville, Indiana.
His Facebook page also contains various right-wing propaganda including anti-Barack Obama and anti-Hillary Clinton memes. His last post featured a meme comparing Clinton to Hitler.
Powell described President Obama as a “punk as obameramoo” in response to a tweet from Russian president Vladamir Putin.
Featured image via YouTube.