Gay pride gunman was on the run from child sex investigation

James Wesley Howell (Photo Credit: Santa Monica Police Department)
James Wesley Howell (Photo credit: Santa Monica Police Department)

Police are stating that the man arrested for planning to attack a gay pride parade in West Hollywood, had fled from Indiana to California while under investigation.

James Howell was being investigated for allegedly having sex with a 12-year-old girl in a car on May 31, 2016.  According to the prosecutor’s office in Indiana, Howell fled after police called him and told him they were on their way to his home to interview him about the alleged sex act.

Howell was arrested by police in Santa Monica, California, on this past Sunday after a resident called stating that Howell was knocking on his door and windows. Police said that Howell was looking for a man he had met online. When police responded to the Santa Monica home, Howell was found in his car with multiple weapons, including an Anderson Manufacturing AM-15 .223-caliber rifle loaded with a 30-round detachable magazine with a second 30-round magazine taped to it. Howell also was in possession of 25 pounds of an explosive called Shot-Shoc. In addition, he had a Taser, handcuffs, a buck knife, a security badge, a black hood, more ammunition and a 5-gallon container of gasoline. His arrest came hours after Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Howell appeared in court on Tuesday with a public defender who protested the judge’s decision to raise his bail from $500K to $2 million at the request of prosecutors. The prosecutor’s office charged Howell with one felony count each of unlawful possession of an assault weapon, possession of a destructive device on a public street, manufacturing or importing a large magazine, and carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle. He was ordered to return to court on June 29, 2016.

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician. He has been writing for Rolling Out since 2014. Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required