Police say a heavily armed Indiana man arrested on his way to a Southern California gay pride parade told them he wanted to do harm to the event.
Santa Monica police said in a statement that the suspect arrested Sunday is 20-year-old James Wesley Howell of Indiana.
Howell was first reported as a prowler by concerned neighbors.
Police say that when they arrested him, they found three assault rifles, high-capacity magazines and ammunition and a five-gallon bucket with chemicals that could be used to make an explosive device.
Santa Monica police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks tweeted that Howell told officers after he arrested that he wanted to harm the gay pride event in West Hollywood that was taking place about seven miles away later Sunday. Hundreds of thousands attend the annual event.
His arrest came as the mass shooting that killed 50 people at a gay nightclub in Florida was still unfolding.
- RELATED: Deadly mass shooting in Orlando, Fl. nightclub being investigated as act of terrorism, June 12, 2016.
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.
A law-enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that guns and explosive materials were found in the suspect&8217;s vehicle. The person spoke on condition of anonymity, citing a lack of authorization to speak publicly about the investigation.
Associated Press Writer Amanda Lee Myers contributed to this report.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says a heavily armed man arrested in Southern California told police he was in the area for West Hollywood&8217;s gay pride parade.
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.
Tens of thousands have gathered in West Hollywood for the annual LA Pride.
Los Angeles County sheriff&8217;s officials say they&8217;re assisting with the investigation and there is no immediate threat.
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