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Man who fatally shot woman for having a Pride flag is a far-right religious zealot and son of a cop

Vishal P. Singh

The Lake Arrowhead shooter has been identified by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department as 27-year-old Travis Ikeguchi. He was extremely active in the online right-wing ecosystem of hate in the United States, regularly posting about his far-right extremist beliefs on Gab and Twitter/X. He supported Donald Trump in 2016 but became far more devoted to a Christian nationalist worldview driven by antisemitic conspiracy theory culture.

In a personal GoFundMe campaign from 2019, Ikeguchi talked about his estranged father being a police officer. Public records indicate that Ikeguchi's father was at one time a Florida Highway Patrol officer. Ikeguchi started attacking police departments online for making Pride posts on Twitter/X. In 2022, he shared a video on Gab about wanting to shoot police officers— which is what he died doing.

Ikeguchi fatally shot Laura Ann Carleton, a loving wife and mother of nine, for having a Pride flag in support of LGBTQ+ rights at her clothing store Mag.Pi in Cedar Glen, California (two hours east of Los Angeles). He spouted anti-LGBTQ+ slurs and hate speech during the incident— as he regularly did on social media. After fleeing the scene of the murder, he was confronted and killed by police in a shootout.

This killing comes in the midst of a Republican-led wave of anti-LGBTQ+ radicalism gripping Southern California. For those following these recent political attacks against LGBTQ+ existence: the rhetoric on Travis Ikeguchi's online profiles was extremely familiar.

It's clear that Ikeguchi's worldview was influenced by the far-right media landscape that has been relentlessly targeting LGBTQ+ existence. He shared Leave Our Kids Alone movement (self described "concerned parents") propaganda targeting schools for supporting LGBTQ+ rights. He ranted against vaccines and abortion rights. He joined in with anti-LGBTQ+ attacks against drag performances. He shared screenshots of being blocked by local schools he harassed for supporting LGBTQ+ people. He falsely labeled all LGBTQ+ people as groomers and child sex abusers. He demanded an end to same-sex marriage. He condemned Jewish people and Black people. He has defended Russia, Putin, and the Wagner Group. All of his posts came from the perspective of far-right Christian nationalism. He regularly envoked God, Jesus Christ, and Satan.

It's not a coincidence that this shooter favorably interacted with and often promoted content from James O'Keefe, Jordan Peterson, Matt Walsh of The Daily Wire, Andy Ngô of The Post Millenial, Rogan O'Handley of Turning Poing USA, Alex Rosen, Ethan Schmidt, OANN, Fox News, The Babylon Bee, The Gateway Pundit, and other similar right-wing provocateur pages. On Gab, his posts were even more extreme and often contained incel ideologies and Nazi imagery— though he regularly criticized neo-Nazis on Gab for not being antisemitic enough or loyal enough to Jesus Christ.

This was not a lone act by a random gunman. This was part of a Republican-led stochastic terrorism campaign. It's doubtful that this will be the last death at the hands of the Republican Party's radicalized foot soldiers— be they organized fascist militant groups or random individual terrorists.

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