Police officials in Santa Monica have arrested a man who was found in possession of a large cache of explosives, assault rifles, and ammunition. The man, whose identity has not been revealed, was carrying this large cache of arms in his car. According to the Los Angeles Times, the man said he was in town for the L.A. Pride festival in West Hollywood. The arrest of the man is of great significance as it happened hours after the Pulse Orlando attacks that left more than 50 people dead in an LGBT nightclub.
According to initial reports, officials from the Santa Monica Police Department received information about a suspected prowler early Sunday morning. Officers responded and confronted the man who told officers that he was merely awaiting the arrival of a friend. The officers went ahead and searched the man’s vehicle, a car with an Indiana registration plate. The officers managed to find several weapons inside the car. Officers also found significant amounts of tannerite, an ingredient widely known to be used to make pipe bombs inside the vehicle.
At this time, it remains unclear if there there is a connection between the Orlando shooter and the man arrested in Santa Monica.
Developing: Evidence gathered at Santa Monica location where man was arrested with weapons before LA Pride. pic.twitter.com/6ALC08Go61
— Jeff Nguyen (@jeffnguyen) June 12, 2016
BREAKING: Man arrested in Santa Monica with possible explosives and assault rifles, said he was going to L.A. Gay Pride festival – LA Times
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) June 12, 2016
Santa Monica police just arrested a man with a car full of explosives and assault rifles headed to the LA gay pride parade
— TmarTn (@TmarTn) June 12, 2016
— Camilla Luddington (@camilluddington) June 12, 2016
After questioning the man, he revealed that he was planning to visit the L.A. Pride festival in West Bollywood. Following his revelation, officials have started to beef up security at the gay pride event underway in West Hollywood. In a statement, West Hollywood City Councilwoman Lindsey Horvath has confirmed that security arrangements at the L.A. Pride festival has been stepped up following the arrest. She, however, went on to add that officials do not believe there is a serious threat surrounding Sunday’s activities at the festival.
The statement started off by talking about the Orlando attacks. Here is an excerpt.
“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.”
Meanwhile, there were also rumors about the possibility of the festival being called off. According to a source for the Los Angeles Times, authorities had at one point discussed about calling off the parade citing security concerns – especially after the Orlando attacks. However, they finally decided to go forward. The source also added that there would be undercover officers in the crowd during the parade.
The news of this man being arrested just hours after the attack has raised concerns about the safety of the LGBT community in the country. Many others have started wondering if there was a plan for widespread attacks against the LGBT community.
Meanwhile, the attacker at the Orlando gay nightclub was identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, who had reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) before the deadly attacks.
[Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP]