The Santa Monica Police Department arrested a man armed with various weapons and possible explosives on his way to the LA Pride Parade in West Hollywood, Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed in a press conference on Sunday.
Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrook identified the man as James Howell of Indiana, and wrote on Twitter that he had “no known connect to circs in FL.” Seabrooks said that the man told an officer of “wanting to harm” the Pride event as he was being arrested.
At about 4:59 a.m, police responded to a call of a suspected prowler near Olympic Boulevard and 11th Street, according to Santa Monica police. The suspect had been knocking on a resident’s door, which prompted the call.
Authorities said that Howell was seated in his vehicle, where they recovered three assault rifles, high capacity magazines and ammunition. Officers also discovered a five gallon bucket with chemicals capable of forming an improvised explosive device.
Ed Ramirez of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station confirmed that the Santa Monica Police Department arrested a suspect early Sunday morning, and that the FBI is assisting in the investigation.
The news came just hours after it was revealed the 50 people are dead after a shooting at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub. The shooting is the deadliest in U.S. history. The shooter was killed after a shootout with police.
In regards to the Santa Monica arrest, Garcetti said “We believe it is completely unrelated” to the Orlando shooting.
A spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that “any possible nexus with this individual and the Pride event in West Hollywood is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
(Pictured: Police on the scene after the Orlando nightclub shooting.)