Showing posts with label Los Angeles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Los Angeles. Show all posts

June 13, 2016

LA Police Stopped Man with Cache of Weapons Headed to Gay Pride

Authorities on Sunday were trying to determine the intentions of an Indiana man with a cache of weapons, ammunition and explosive-making materials in his car and apparent plans to attend the L.A. Pride festival in West Hollywood.
Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks initially said on Twitter that the 20-year-old man told one of her officers after he was arrested that he wanted “to harm Gay Pride event.” 
But Lt. Saul Rodriguez said later the tweet was a misstatement. He said the suspect told investigators that he was going to the Pride festival but said he did not make additional statements about his intentions.
"It was a misstatement," Rodriguez said. "Unfortunately, she was given incorrect information initially, which indicated that that statement was made; however, that statement never was made. He did indicate that he was planning on going to the Pride festival but beyond anything as far as motives or his intentions that statement was never made nor did any officer receive that statement."
Police identified the suspect as James Wesley Howell of Indiana. A Facebook page for someone with the same name in Indiana shows a young man posing next to a white Acura with the same license plate as the car searched in Santa Monica for the weapons and explosives.
At a news conference Sunday afternoon, police stressed they were still trying to figure out what Howell planned to do with the weapons.
Howell’s friend and fellow car club member Joseph Greeson, 18, said Howell didn’t harbor any ill will toward gays or lesbians.
Greeson said Howell’s family in Jeffersonville hadn’t seen him for days and that his parents had called Greeson’s parents looking for him.
He added that Howell was known to have a gun collection.
According to Indiana court records, Howell was charged in October 2015 with intimidation and felony pointing a firearm at another person. On April 19, Howell pleaded guilty to misdemeanor intimidation, and prosecutors dropped the charge of pointing a firearm. Court records show he was sentenced to a year in state prison and placed on probation. Under the deal, He agreed to forfeit all weapons during his term of probation.
Howell allegedly pointed a gun at his neighbors in the October incident, according to a News and Tribune article. In the article, witnesses also described Howell as having pointed his gun at his boyfriend in an earlier incident.
“James is going to get someone hurt,” one witness said, the article said. “He needs to stop pointing guns at people.”
Greeson said that Howell harbored no ill will toward gays or lesbians and added that Howell was bisexual.  

Federal and local law enforcement decided against canceling the annual parade, which went forward Sunday morning under tightened security. Investigators are now trying to piece together what happened but said they don’t believe there is any connection between the incident and the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that killed at least 50 people overnight.
Early Sunday, Santa Monica police received a call about a suspected prowler who was knocking on a resident’s door and window about 5 a.m. in the 1700 block of 11th Street, Santa Monica police said. Patrol officers responded and encountered Howell, who was sitting in a car registered in Indiana, police said. Officers inspected the car and found three assault rifles, high-capacity ammunition and a 5-gallon bucket containing “chemicals capable of forming an improvised explosive device,” police said.  
A law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the contents of the bucket included tannerite, an ingredient that could be used to create a pipe bomb. The maker of the material said that was not the case and that it can only be detonated by high-velocity impact such as a bullet strike. But tannerite is known as a material used in the construction of other types of explosive devices.
The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation, said authorities also found camouflage clothing in the car.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said the suspect told police he was going to the Pride parade to look for a friend. Authorities were looking for that individual.

Santa Monica police spokesman Saul Rodriguez said detectives are “not aware of what the suspect’s intentions were at this point.”
Santa Monica police continued to search the suspect’s white Acura on Sunday morning. All four of the car’s doors were open and a green blanket, red gasoline canister and several other smaller items were being piled on the sidewalk next to it. The car’s license plate included a symbol of the National Rifle Assn. on the left side and the bottom said, "Teaching Freedom."
Facebook page for Howell said he attended high school in Louisville, Ky., and lives in Jeffersonville, Ind., where he works for an air filtration company. A car enthusiast, Howell posted numerous photographs of the Acura along with a couple of videos taken from inside cars. Another 10-second video includes gunfire, with shots striking grass.
The site includes political posts, including one in which he compares Hillary Clinton to Adolf Hitler. In another, he repeats conspiracy theories that the government was behind notorious terrorist attacks, including Sept. 11, 2001. That post shares a video claiming that last year’s terror attack on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was a hoax and attributable to the “New World Order.” 
“They found him with weapons that were very disconcerting," said one source, adding officials are "taking the appropriate safety precautions."
One source in West Hollywood said there was discussion of calling off the parade but that officials decided to go forward, with heavy security including undercover officers in the crowd.
The sources spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly. 
The parade comes hours after the attack at the Orlando club. In addition to those killed, at least 53 were injured in the deadliest shooting in modern American history after a gunman took hostages. The gunman, who was killed in a shootout with police, has been identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, a U.S. law enforcement official said.
West Hollywood City Councilwoman Lindsey Horvath said in a statement that Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials were stepping up security efforts around Sunday’s parade and other festivities. But she said officials do not believe there is any threat around Sunday’s activities.
The parade began about 10:45 a.m. Usually a joyful affair, this event was tempered  by the Orlando violence and the Santa Monica arrest. 
Emma Samuels, 16, stood at Crescent Heights and Santa Monica boulevards with a group of friends, wearing a rainbow tutu.
She had heard about what happened in Florida when her mother called her Sunday morning, as soon as she arrived at the parade. "She told me and said, 'I hope you're safe, sweetie, I love you and let me know that you're OK,'" she said. Her friend Nicki Genco-Kamin, 18, stood with her, a “No H8” temporary tattoo on his left cheek: "I feel like it's all the more reason to come out. That's trying to push us back. This is showing we're still here, we're still going to take a stand," he said.
The group said that a sense of worry was there, but stressed the importance of turning out.
"That's exactly why we're here, to be like, 'I'm proud of who I am. I don't care if you hate me, I'm going to love myself,'" Samuels said.
"Life is short anyways," Genco-Kamin said. “Spend it being authentic to yourself." Authorities look over the suspect's car in Santa Monica. (Joel Rubin / Los Angeles Times)

“Gun violence on the LGBTQ family during Pride Month makes me sick,” Horvath said. “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.”
A reporter for ProPublica tweeted out a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department bulletin detailing the arrest.
Joel Rubin, Hailey Branson-Potts, Zahira Torres and Frank Shyong

May 1, 2013

Why Some People LOve L.A.

Without a doubt, there's a lot to love about Los Angeles, Southern California's sun-drenched haven for the LGBT community. While it's never easy to narrow down your favorites, we've taken on the challenge of listing the city's cherished landmarks, celebrated hot-spots and famed destinations, each of which is fun and exciting for the L.A. local or SoCal visitor.  

The Abbey
Logo has named The Abbey the best gay bar in the world—twice—and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would disagree. This bar and lounge really has everything for everyone, no matter what your speed. Indoor, outdoor, upstairs, downstairs, bar stool, couch it, what have you. The place is huge and expanding by the minute, and it’s barely ever closed (open 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.). Meet friends for Sunday brunch (there’s a DJ), grab a quick bite during your lunch hour (we suggest the Chick-for-Gay sandwich), or spend a Saturday evening sipping a martini, enjoying the go-go boys and dancing the night away. You can even bring your straight friends along—The Abbey welcomes all. But you might want to tell your girlfriends to stick to Red Robin for their bachelorette parties—as those have been banned (thank you, David Cooley).
Abbot Kinney BoulevardNot to be outdone by The Abbey, Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice has racked up its own prestigious title: GQnamed it "The Coolest Block in America." I mean, it even has its own Twitter feed (@onabbotkinney). That’s a hip piece of real estate. Named after the man who built the Venice Canals, it's where residents and tourists converge to shop, dine and hang. More than 100 boutiques, bookstores, art galleries, fine dining restaurants, design firms, coffee shops, clubs, salons and more line the bohemian-chic boulevard. Every first Friday of the month, merchants join together and feature different artists, gifts, products and music. And on the last Sunday in Septemeber, the community celebrates with the Abbot Kinney Festival, where you can take in local artisan crafts, live music and great food.

ArcLight Hollywood
The ArcLight provides a no-nonsense movie experience. You won’t find “frugal types” bouncing from theater to theater or gaggles of miscreant teens sneaking in through the exit. The friendly and able staff (they’re called “Usher Greeters”) have the place on pleasant lockdown. For example, before the film rolls, the usher greeters announce that everyone needs to turn off their phones and refrain from texting. There’s also none of that annoying advertising on the screen while you wait—only movie trailers. Five minutes after the film starts, no additional tickets are sold, so you won’t have someone stepping over you in the dark and knocking your Milk Duds out of your hand. The sound and picture are excellent, and with ArcLight’s reserved seating, you can make sure you’re always located within your comfort zone. There are also 21-and-over screenings in which you can consume libations. Added bonus: celebrity sightings aplenty—we saw Faye Dunaway(!) at a screening of Milk
BeachesMalibu, Hermosa, Venice, Santa Monica. Southern California is well-known for its beautiful beaches. Some days you want to jump in the car for a long drive down the coast to take it all in, while others call for an extended stay at your favorite spot with all your gear in tow. And with our great year-round weather, hitting the coast is always an option. Manhattan Beach offers one of the area’s best bike paths (wheels only—there’s a separate path for joggers, which keeps things safer). At the Santa Monica Pier, you can get some lunch, play some games and watch local fishermen cast their lines. Venice Beach showcases the more colorful side of beach living, with a boardwalk chock-full of musicians, artists, philosophers and poets. The go-to gay beach is located on the west side of Will Rogers in Pacific Palisades (known as Ginger Rogers Beach), where you can enjoy the scenery or play a little volleyball.
Beverly CenterClocking in at eight stories high and located in the heart of WeHo between La Cienega and San Vicente, the Beverly Center is a huge L.A. presence. (Prior to the mall’s opening in 1982, the lot was the site of Kiddyland, an amusement park that featured a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, mini-roller coaster and pony rides.) The Beverly Center offers the proverbial one-stop shopping for anything you may need—high-end couture, beauty products, electronics and everyday necessities. Where else in L.A. can you order up some Panda Express orange chicken at the food court and then go shopping at Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani Exchange, Diesel and Prada?

Christopher Street West
This nonprofit organization, which was named after the street in New York City where the Stonewall Riots took place in 1969, produces L.A. Pride every year. What can we say about our beloved L.A. Pride? It’s where we go to celebrate us. Where the community comes together to collectively rally for wins and losses we’ve made. It’s a dance-party, chicken-shish-kabob-eating, dayglo-bead-wearing helluva good time. And it’s where many members of our community will tell you they first felt acceptance. There’s something about seeing huge masses of other people who are “just like you” that makes you smile. The whole weekend is a mash-up of parties and fundraisers that culminates with the Pride parade on Sunday (typical attendance is in the 400,000 range).
The CenterOfficially known as the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, the Center is an all-encompassing resource site for the LGBT community. It has been building the health, advocating for the rights and enriching the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people since 1971. If you need help, the Center is always here for you. It welcomes nearly a quarter-million client visits each year—assisting everyone from homeless youth to seniors and everyone in between. The Center offers multiple services—HIV testing, lesbian health care, mental health services, meth recovery services, transgender health care, homeless youth services, senior services, legal services, a cultural arts program and a career center, to name just a few. It also sponsors galas, AIDS/Lifecycle, Rapid Quest, An Evening With Women and other fun events. 
Drag ShowsThey’ve been fabulous (Priscilla Queen of the DesertRuPaul’s Drag Race); they've been fugulous (Some Like It HotTootsieTo Wong Foo). Regardless, any way you slice it, drag queens deserve reverence. Retaining elegance and style—while wearing a size 14, six-inch heel—is not for the faint of heart. If you’ve come to Tinseltown looking for the best that drag has to offer, you’ve come to the right place. It’s not called the entertainment capital of the world for nothing. Hamburger Mary's in West Hollywood is the place to be on Wednesday and Sunday nights for drag queen-hosted bingo. The Plaza on La Brea features campy, Latin-infused drag shows. And the legendary Micky’s serves up Showgirls Monday every week, where you can watch pros such as Raven, Morgan McMichaels, Detox, Samantha Starr and Mayhem. 
Dyke MarchThe Dyke March in West Hollywood is the unofficial kickoff to L.A. Pride weekend festivities every year. It’s where people of all ages and genders gather to celebrate the achievements of the lesbian community and realize the challenges still to come. The event begins with a rally, and then the Dyke March proceeds down Santa Monica Boulevard, returning to the L.A. Pride festival grounds for a free after-party with refreshments and music. Each year, the Etheridge Award is handed out to a lesbian whose community leadership has had a significant impact within and for the lesbian community. Dyke March Los Angeles, a separate event, takes place in Silver Lake annually and includes live music, drag king performances and standup comics.  

Eagle L.A.
The Eagle leather bar on Santa Monica Boulevard is the site where the famous gay bar Gauntlet II lived for 21 years. Charlie Matula and his business partner Vince Quattrocchi purchased the Gauntlet II in 2005 and changed its name to Eagle L.A. The original Eagle L.A., located in West Hollywood, closed in 1995. According to Eagle L.A.’s website, “Although that Eagle is of no relation to Charlie or Vince, they are proud to re-establish Eagle L.A. and become the latest in a long line of Eagle bars in cities throughout the U.S. and around the world.” Their mission is to uphold the leather, uniform and fetish traditions set by the infamous Eagle name—a tradition that still holds true today. 

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