A heavily armed man who told police he was heading to a Los Angeles-area gay pride parade was first spotted by Santa Monica residents who thought he looked suspicious.
Heriberto Gomez, a lifelong resident who says he watches over the neighborhood, stepped outside at 3 a.m. Sunday and saw the man’s white sedan parked in the wrong direction on the street.
Gomez says the man ran across the street and hid in bushes and overhanging trees. Gomez says it appeared the man saw him.
He says it was too dark outside, and the man was too far away for him to provide a description. Another neighbor called police, and the man was arrested.
Santa Monica police said in a statement that the suspect arrested Sunday is 20-year-old James Wesley Howell of Indiana.
A law-enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that guns and explosive materials were found in the suspect’s vehicle. The person spoke on condition of anonymity, citing a lack of authorization to speak publicly about the investigation.
Tens of thousands gathered in West Hollywood for the annual LA Pride. CCTV America’s May Lee attended a gay pride parade in West Hollywood and took these photos at the parade.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the arrest Sunday while attending the LA Pride kickoff. Police in Santa Monica planned a news conference to discuss the arrest.
Authorities did not know of any connection between the gay nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday and the Santa Monica arrest.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told City News Service that the agency was assisting the Santa Monica Police Department with the arrest of an individual,” but would not supply any more details.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials say they’re assisting with the investigation and there is no immediate threat.
Story from The Associated Press.