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Laura Carleton’s killer was the son of a decorated police officer

Travis Ikeguchi spoke about killing police officers in hateful social media posts

Bevan Hurley
Wednesday 23 August 2023 14:28 BST
California shop owner Lauri Carleton killed over Pride flag

The father of a gunman who killed a “true LGBTQ+ ally” for displaying a Pride flag outside her clothing store is a decorated Florida Highway Patrol state trooper, according to public records.

Travis Kirby Ikeguchi, 27, yelled “many homophobic slurs” at Laura Ann Carleton before fatally shooting her outside of Mag.Pi fashion store in Glen Cedar, California, on Friday, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said on Monday.

He fled the scene of the shooting and died after a shootout with deputies nearby, authorities said.

Ikeguchi’s social media accounts on X, formerly known as Twitter, and far-right site Gab are filled with bigoted anti-LGBTQ+ posts, and show an intense hatred for law enforcement, a San Bernardino County spokesperson said.

According to public records, his father David Jay Ikeguchi, 63, is a 35-year veteran state trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol based in Orlando.

Property records show David, Janet and Travis Ikeguchi lived in Sanford, Seminole County, in Florida, from 1991 to 2017.

Travis Ikeguchi also lived in Lake Mary, Florida, before moving to Cedar Glen, in San Bernardino County, California, property records show.

Mr Ikeguchi Sr and the suspect’s mother Janet Ikeguchi divorced in 2018. Ms Ikeguchi cited “irreconcilable differences” as grounds for the divorce, according to court papers obtained by The Independent from Orange County, California.

Florida Highway Patrol state trooper David Ikeguchi was awarded one of the department’s highest honours after pulling a man from a burning car (Florida Highway Patrol)

According to Mr Ikeguchi Sr’s LinkedIn profile, he is a firearms and active shooter instructor with the Florida Highway Patrol.

“I have 30+ years experience working as a State Trooper and 28+ years as an adjunct firearms/driving instructor for the Florida Highway Patrol Training Academy,” the profile states.

“I also have instructor certificates in patrol rifle and active shooter training as well as Glock and AR15 armourer.”

In 2020, Mr Ikeguchi Sr was awarded the department’s Silver Star award after he pulled a driver from a burning vehicle in Lake County while off-duty.

“Without regard to his own safety, Master Trooper Ikeguchi, helped extricate the driver from the burning vehicle and carried him to safety,” a citation reads. “Master Trooper Ikeguchi’s quick thinking and immediate actions saved the life of this driver.”

The award for “exemplary performance of duty” has only been given to 30 recipients since 2010, according to Florida State Highway Patrol records.

Laura Carleton was killed outside her store (Provided)

In social media posts, Travis Ikeguchi claimed to be a Christian, posted anti-semitic statements, followed and boosted rightwing personalities Jordan Peterson and Matt Walsh, and expressed support for anti-vaxx presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr.

Travis Ikeguchi had a burning Pride flag pinned to the top of his account on X, and retweeted a post comparing Nazi children with swastika flags to schoolchildren with Pride flags.

He also posted paranoid, threatening messages about police officers.

On June 27, he posted on Twitter: “DO NOT TRUST COPS… Do not follow their traps they want to know everything about you to catch you and used against you in court and lie about you. Watch out their sociopathic schemes.”

In a 2021 post on the right-wing social media site Gab, Ikeguchi spoke chillingly of killing police officers.

“I know it’s controversial for me to mention the option to kill a police officer, but these police officers are not the servants for the people they are the servants for the laws,” the post read.

Ikeguchi appeared to harbour bitter feelings over his parent’s divorce.

In January 2019, Ikeguchi appears to have set up a GoFundme page asking for donations.

Burning Pride flag seen on Travis Ikeguchi’s X / Twitter account (X / Twitter)

According to divorce records, a court ordered Ikeguchi’s parents to divide their assets evenly, and Mr Ikeguchi Sr was ordered to pay $1,800 per month in spousal support.

The Independent emailed and left phone messages for David Ikeguchi, who did not respond.

A Florida Highway Patrol spokesperson told The Independent by email they would be in contact “shortly” when asked about the family connection, and did not provide any further comment.

Travis Ikeguchi’s family had reported him missing to Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station in San Bernardino County, on 17 August, one day before the shooting, authorities said Monday.

During the shootout with sheriff’s deputies, Ikeguchi was armed with a handgun and refused orders to drop the weapon, investigators said during Monday’s press conference.

The weapon was not registered in the state of California, according to the sheriff’s department.

Investigators believe Ikeguchi had no registered firearms and did not have a concealed carry permit.

An investigation into the shootings is continuing.

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