Man With IED Chemicals and Guns Arrested on Way to LA Pride Fest

james wesley howell

James Wesley Howell was arrested after he was found to be armed with three semi-automatic rifles, high capacity magazines, ammunition, and a five gallon bucket “with chemicals capable of forming an improvised explosive device.” Vigilant officers stopped him early, so it’s not certain what his intent was. It is likely that these officers likely stopped another terrorist attack against America.

KTLA reports:

A “heavily armed” man who told police he wanted to go the L.A. Pride festival was arrested in Santa Monica, authorities said Sunday, the same day as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history took place at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando.

Officers responded to the 1700 block of 11th Street, near Olympic Boulevard, after residents reported a possible prowler shortly around 5 a.m., according to Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks and a news release from the department.

The suspect was knocking on a resident’s door and window, which prompted the 911 call, the release stated.

Officers responded to the location and made contact with James Wesley Howell, who was seated in a car with Indiana license plates, according to the release.

During the subsequent investigation, police found three assault rifles, high capacity magazines, ammunition and a five-gallon bucket “with chemicals capable of forming an improvised explosive device,” authorities said.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad was sent to the scene to render the car and the area safe, the release stated.

Seabrooks later tweeted that Howell, of Indiana, allegedly told an officer “of wanting to harm Gay Pride event during arrest for weapons and explosive materials possession.”

But at a news conference just before 3 p.m., a male Santa Monica police official clarified the information, saying the man referenced the pride festival, but said he did not state his intentions beyond that.

“We did not have any additional information as to what his intentions were,” the official said, describing the earlier tweet as a “misquote.”

The investigation into a possible motive was ongoing.

The 20-year-old man was booked into jail around 11:30 a.m. and is behind held on $500,000 according to L.A. County inmate records. His first court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.

Had these officers not completed such a thorough investigation, there’s no telling what this wackadoodle would have done. On the same day as a massive terrorist attack, these heroes may have saved many more lives.