She hung a Delight flag at her store. She was killed over it, officers say.


Laura Carleton “was a fierce protector of all people being who they wished to be.”

Pride Flag
PAU BARRENA/AFP by way of Getty Photos

When a clothes retailer opened in Cedar Glen, Calif., in the summertime of 2021, the proprietor hung a Delight flag on the entrance, her buddies recalled. Every time somebody would tear down the flag, proprietor Laura Carleton would increase one other one.

However after somebody complained concerning the flag on Friday, the encounter turned lethal.

A person arrived on the retailer, Magazine.pi, round 5 p.m. and criticized Carleton’s Delight flag earlier than he shot her, in line with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Division. Carleton, 66, was pronounced lifeless on the scene.

The shooter, whom authorities haven’t publicly recognized, died following “a deadly drive encounter” with deputies after the capturing, the sheriff’s division stated in an announcement.

Neighborhood members have since rallied round Carleton’s retailer, putting Delight flags, flowers, candles and pictures of Carleton in entrance of it. Matthew Clevenger of Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ+ stated Carleton was a robust ally of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood.

“She was a fierce protector of all people being who they wished to be,” Clevenger instructed The Washington Publish.

Carleton, who glided by Lauri, started working in trend as a young person at her household’s enterprise, Fred Segal in Los Angeles, in line with Magazine.pi’s web site. After graduating from the ArtCenter Faculty of Design in Pasadena, Calif., Carleton labored at a retail retailer earlier than becoming a member of Kenneth Cole within the Nineteen Eighties. Carleton labored for the style firm for greater than 15 years as an govt.

In 2013, Carleton based her clothes retailer, Magazine.pi, on Ventura Boulevard in Studio Metropolis, Calif. She added a second retailer in Cedar Glen in 2021. Whereas she constructed her profession, Carleton married her husband and took pleasure of their blended household of 9 youngsters, her retailer’s web site says.

Carleton was one of many largest donors to Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ+ and attended the group’s Delight boat parade in June, Clevenger stated. A piece of Magazine.pi was devoted to rainbow-colored merchandise, and she or he displayed rainbow candles by the money register, he stated.

Carleton helped create a tradition wherein the LGBTQ+ neighborhood felt accepted, Clevenger stated. However some neighborhood members had been nonetheless resistant, he added, and took down Magazine.pi’s Delight flag a number of instances.

After making “disparaging remarks” concerning the Delight flag on Friday, a person shot Carleton earlier than fleeing, in line with the sheriff’s division. He was holding a handgun when deputies discovered him on a close-by street, the place he later died, officers stated.

Regulation enforcement departments in a number of states, together with Maryland, California and New York, have investigated latest cases of Delight flag vandalism as hate crimes. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Division stated it’s nonetheless investigating the incident.

Dozens of individuals visited Magazine.pi this previous weekend, and guests wrote “WE LOVE YOU LAURI” in chalk in entrance of the doorway.

Carleton’s good friend Paul Feig, recognized for creating the TV present “Freaks and Geeks” and directing the movie “Bridesmaids, wrote on Instagram that he was “devastated” for Carleton’s household.

“Anybody utilizing hateful language towards the LGBTQ+ neighborhood has to appreciate their phrases matter, that their phrases can encourage violence towards harmless loving individuals,” Feig wrote. “Let’s all preserve shifting ahead with tolerance and love. Let’s not let Lauri’s tragic demise be in useless.”

Carleton hoped to proceed to make the Cedar Glen space extra inclusive — a purpose Clevenger nonetheless hopes to perform. He stated he admired how she at all times caught up for the LGBTQ+ neighborhood, even when others challenged her beliefs.

“When you had been coming after her or the individuals she beloved,” Clevenger stated, “she was the lioness.”