Los Angeles, Calif.(CNN) — Just hours after the Orlando mass murder began, as word spread about the shooting inside the Pulse Nightclub, police near Los Angeles arrested 20-year-old James Howell with a frightening arsenal.
Inside Howell’s white Acura, police found three assault rifles, a rifle scope, high capacity magazines, ammunition, a gas canister, a black vest with a security badge, and a five gallon bucket with chemicals capable of making a bomb. Police said he told them where he was going. “He said he was coming to Pride, and was heavily armed and apprehended by Santa Monica police department officials,” said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcettihe.
Howell was arrested just before dawn. A neighbor called the Santa Monica Police reporting a suspected prowler. Police said Howell was sitting in his car with Indiana plate, his home state.
Howell has a criminal history in Indiana, arrested for intimidation with a weapon. Police also said his 17-year-old boyfriend in a lover’s quarrel accused him of pointing an AR-style rifle at him last year, but that did not lead to an arrest. Lt. Saul Rodriguez/Santa Monica Police Department said, “We do not have any additional information related to what his intentions were.”
Police are now looking at all this with new concern, with thousands gathering for the L.A. pride parade in the wake for the Orlando shooting. Howell’s arrest adds another layer of security. With additional officers, the city decided the parade would go on.
“Orlando” was scrawled on hastily made signs carried by the LGBT community as a badge of solidarity. One attendant of the parade said, “We’re stronger than the fear. We’re stronger than all of the scary things that are going on in the world right now.”
Police records show Howell is being held on $500,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday
California, Pulse Nightclub shooting, Los Angeles, Pride Parade, West Hollywood
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