Authorities in Santa Monica found possible explosives with weapons and ammunition Sunday in the car of a man who told them he was in town for the L.A. Pride Parade in West Hollywood.
Early Sunday, Santa Monica police received a call of a suspected prowler near Olympic Boulevard and 11th Street. Patrol officers responded and encountered an individual who told officers he was waiting for a friend. That led officers to inspect the car and find several weapons and a lot of ammunition as well as tannerite, an ingredient that could be used to create a pipe bomb.
Authorities said the arrest occurred at 5 a.m. The suspect told authorities he was looking for a friend at the festival, said acting L.A. County Undersheriff Neal Tyler. The suspect is being questioned and authorities were trying to find the person he said he was looking for, he said.
Neighbors called police after he was spotted knocking on doors and “loitering in the area,” Rodriguez said.
The parade comes hours after the attack at gay club in Orlando that killed 50 people. At least 53 were injured in the deadliest shooting in modern American history after a gunman took hostages. The gunman has been identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen. Mate father said that his son was anti-gay and enraged when he saw two men kissing in Miami recently.
One source in West Hollywood said there was discussion of calling off the parade but that officials decided to go forward, with heavy security including undercover officers in the crowd.
West Hollywood City Councilwoman Lindsey Horvath said in a statement that Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials are stepping up security efforts around Sunday’s parade and other festivities. ,
“We are hearing absolutely devastating news reports from Orlando this morning. Gun violence on the LGBTQ family during Pride Month makes me sick. The deadliest mass shooting in America happened to LGBTQ people on Latin night. While we mourn this heartbreaking loss, we must also rededicate ourselves to the fight for full equality for all people. No one is equal unless everyone is equal.”
A reporter for ProPublica tweeted out a Sheriff’s Department bulletin detailing the arrest. (via L.A. Times)