Michael Webster
Jacqueline Seabrooks Santa Monica Police Chief earlier today 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"
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By Michael Webster
June 13, 2016

Jacqueline Seabrooks Santa Monica Police Chief earlier today 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."

Lt. Saul Rodriguez later indicated in a tweet that, that 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."

Several vigils are planned around Southern California for the Orlando shooting victims

Several vigils are planned around Southern California for the Orlando shooting victims

According to Police they have 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.

Reported in the L.A. Times, 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 documents, Howell was arrested and 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.

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.

© Michael Webster

 

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Michael Webster

Michael Webster's Syndicated Investigative Reports are read worldwide, in 100 or more U.S. outlets and in at least 136 countries and territories. He publishes articles in association with global news agencies and media information services with more than 350 news affiliates in 136 countries... (more)

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