Heavily armed man arrested in California told police he wanted ‘to harm’ gay pride event

Posted at 12:05 PM, Jun 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-12 17:48:13-04

UPDATE: A heavily armed man who was arrested in Santa Monica allegedly told officers he wanted "to harm" a gay pride event that was occurring in West Hollywood Saturday, the same day as a man killed at least 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

James Howell mugshotKTLA in Los Angeles reports James Wesley Howell was arrested and found to be in possession of three assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, ammunition and a bucket, "with chemicals capable of forming an improvised explosive device."

While the man's intentions weren't immediately clear, police now state the man told an officer, "of wanting to harm Gay Pride event during arrest for weapons and explosive materials possession."

Previous story continues below:

LOS ANGELES -- On the same day of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, police on Sunday arrested a man in Santa Monica who had weapons and possible explosives in his car, and who was apparently headed to the L.A. Gay Pride festival, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Santa Monica Police Department officers responded to the area of Olympic Boulevard and 11th Street to a report of a suspected prowler. When they arrived, they encountered the man, who said he was waiting for a friend, according to the Times, citing a law enforcement source.

The exchange led officers to inspect a nearby car with Indiana license plates, where they discovered multiple weapons  — including at least one assault rifle — and lots of ammunition, the newspaper reported.

They also found the ingredient tannerite, which can be used to make a pipe bomb, according to the Times.

The individual told police he was headed to West Hollywood for the Gay Pride festival, the source told the newspaper. Authorities have not released the man’s name.

Law enforcement personnel confirmed an arrest was made in Santa Monica, but had no details about the incident.

The incident occurred hours after a shooting rampage at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, left 50 people dead and at least 53 others injured. The shooting is the deadliest on American soil since the attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino last December.

In a news conference in West Hollywood shortly after 10:30 a.m., the law enforcement member told reporters that there is “no known credible threat” to the area following the Orlando attack.

She added there was no indication the two incidents were linked.

The pride parade was scheduled to start about 10:45 a.m. A moment of silent was held around the same time.