While we do not want to jump to any conclusions before a proper investigation has occurred, an arrest has been made in Los Angeles that have people on high alert.
James Wesley Howell was arrested yesterday while he was reportedly on his way to the L.A. Pride festival in California. It is being reported that police found Howell, a 20-year-old Indiana man, heading towards the festival; in his car were several dangerous weapons, including three assault rifles with ammunition and a bucket with chemicals. It is believed these chemicals could have been used for an explosive device, but this is just speculation at this stage.
There was some confusion on Sunday relating to what Howell may have told an officer. One Santa Monica police officer had tweeted that Howell was going “to harm Gay Pride event;” however, another police officer later clarified that this tweet was a result of miscommunication.
Again, to be clear, there is no evidence that Howell is in anyway connected to the tragedy in Orlando; although the timing of his arrest does give one pause. The FBI has also confirmed that there is no known connection to Orlando at this time, nor is there a credible threat in Los Angeles. That being said, the local Sheriff’s office announced: “Out of an abundance of caution, we have enhanced our security presence for the (Pride) event and have tactical units at the ready to prevent and respond to any circumstances…Any possible nexus with this individual and the Pride event in West Hollywood is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”