Police: Heavily armed man arrested in US was going to LA gay pride parade

2016-06-12 21:47
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. (AFP)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. (AFP)

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Santa Monica - A heavily armed man arrested in Southern California early on Sunday told police he was in the area for West Hollywood's huge gay pride parade, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Garcetti announced the arrest on Sunday while attending the LA Pride kick-off.

A law-enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that guns and explosive materials were found in the suspect's vehicle. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he or she does not have authorisation to speak publicly about the investigation.

Police in Santa Monica, where the arrest occurred, would not immediately confirm the incident. They planned an afternoon news conference to discuss the arrest.

Television images showed police searching a white sedan parked on a residential street in the seaside city west of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials said the suspect told police that he was going to the pride parade to look for a friend. Authorities are now looking for that individual.

Santa Monica Police spokesperson Saul Rodriguez told the Los Angeles Times that detectives are "not aware of what the suspect's intentions were at this point".

Neighbours called police after the man was spotted knocking on doors and "loitering in the area", Rodriguez said.

Garcetti said the arrest came following a tip from a "neighbourhood person."

Authorities did not know of any connection between the gay nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, early on Sunday and the Santa Monica arrest.

FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller told City News Service that the agency was assisting the Santa Monica Police Department with the arrest of an individual, but would not supply any more details.

Tens of thousands have gathered in West Hollywood for the annual LA Pride.

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials say they're assisting with the investigation and there was no immediate threat.

Garcetti said the pride event would continue in memory of the victims in Orlando.

"This march goes on, we go on, in the face of hate," he said.

Read more on:    us  |  gay rights

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