Jamie Lee Curtis and Paul Feig lead reactions to shooting of California store owner over Pride flag

Jamie Lee Curtis and Paul Feig lead reactions to shooting of California store owner over Pride flag

Paul Feig and Jamie Lee Curtis have reacted after a woman was shot dead outside her clothing shop in Cedar Glen, California.

Laura Ann Carleton, 66, who was married with nine children, was killed after the gunman reportedly took issue with a large LGBT+ Pride flag that was hanging outside her shop, according to police.

The alleged shooter, a 27-year-old man, was subsequently shot dead by law enforcement.

Feig, the director of 2016’s Ghostbusters and the hit comedy Bridesmaids, shared a photo of himself and Carlton on Instagram, alongside a written tribute.

“Our wonderful friend Lauri Carleton (seen in this picture) was murdered yesterday in her store @magpi_shop in Lake Arrowhead by a 27 year old man who didn’t like that she had a large pride flag hanging outside of her shop,” he wrote.

“He ripped it down and when she confronted him about it he shot and killed her. We are all devastated for her husband Bort and her family and the LGBTQ+ community, for whom Lauri was such a true ally. Her alleged murderer was later shot and killed by the San Bernardino police and so no longer poses a threat to the community. But this intolerance has to end.”

He continued: “Anyone using hateful language against the LGBTQ+ community has to realise their words matter, that their words can inspire violence against innocent loving people. Let’s all keep moving forward with tolerance and love. Let’s not let Lauri’s tragic death be in vain.”

Many of Feig’s celebrity friends and followers also paid tribute in the comments under his post.

Hollywood star Charlize Theron said Carleton’s death was “heartbreaking”, while The Office star Kate Flannery wrote: “Paul! I’m so sorry for your loss. And I’m sorry for the state of the world.”

“Truly heartbreaking,” wrote One Tree Hill star Sophia Bush. US actor Timothy Omundson wrote: “It is so horrific that an expression of love and support for a marginalised community, should lead to such radicalized hatred and violence every shop in Arrowhead village should hang a pride flag to honor this brave wife and mother.”

In her own Instagram tribute, Curtis wrote: “My hand in yours @alokvmenon.”

“I feel deeply saddened by this,” the caption continued. “This is our country now and we can’t look away. Rest in peace Laura Ann Carleton, a mother of nine. Thank you for your allyship. Thank you for your love. I’ll never forget you.”

The Oscar-winning actor, 64, has been a fierce supporter of transgender rights ever since her daughter Ruby came out as trans in 2020.

Comedian Bridget Everett noted that Carleton and her shop had been harassed over the Pride flag before, but had refused to be cowed and would always replace it whenever someone tried to tear it down.

She recalled how the last time she saw Carleton was at Lake Arrowhead’s Pride parade.

“All that anti-LGBTQ rhetoric has a price” she said. “Now, Lauri’s husband Bort, her daughter, friends, and community are devastated. And for what?”

Comedian and writer Mae Martin, US journalist Katie Couric, Andy Cohen and comedian Abbi Jacobson were among those to express their heartbreak and distress in the comments under Everett’s post.

The investgation into the shooting is still ongoing.

Police revealed in a statment that the suspect, a 27-year-old man, had fled the crime scene on foot, before being found by authorities in a nearby location. After refusing to lay down his handgun in a confrontation with sheriff’s deputies, the suspect was fatally shot.

“When deputies attempted to contact the suspect, a lethal force encounter occurred and the suspect was pronounced deceased,” a sheriff’s office statement reported.

“Through further investigation, detectives learned the suspect made several disparaging remarks about a rainbow flag that stood outside the store before shooting Carleton.”

The killing was condemneed by a local LGBT+ organisation for the Lake Arrowhead area, where the Ceder Glen community is situated.

Laura Carleton was killed by a gunman outside her store (Mountain Provisions Cooperative)
Laura Carleton was killed by a gunman outside her store (Mountain Provisions Cooperative)

The Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ group shared a message on Facebook page praising Carleton and her support for LGBT+ rights.

“Today was a very sad day for Lake Arrowhead and for the LGBTQ community,” they wrote. “Our friend and supporter Lauri Carleton... was murdered defending her lgbtq+ Pride flags in front of her store in Cedar Glen, California.

“Lauri did not identify as LGBTQ+ but spent her time helping & advocating for everyone in the community. She will be truly missed.”

The killing was also addressed in a statement from San Bernardino county supervisor Dawn Rowe, who said: “This senseless act of hate and violence is unthinkable.”

“I stand with my mountain communities as we mourn this incredible loss. Everyone deserves to live free of hate and discrimination and practice their constitutional right of freedom of speech. Lauri was a remarkable member of the community and I send my deepest condolences to her family in this time of grief.”