James Howell, the 20-year old gay man arrested for planning to attack the 2016 Pride celebration in Los Angeles, has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
It was a close call that’s largely been lost to history, since the very night before, a gunman opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando Florida and massacred 49 of the people held hostage inside.
Howell never made it to his intended destination. Instead he was stopped in Santa Monica on his way to West Hollywood, where police discovered 15 lbs. of explosive chemicals already mixed for detonation in addition to a loaded AR-15 rifle with its magazines modified to allow shots to be fired in quick succession.
About 3 a.m. Sunday morning, a woman noticed Howell’s white Acura parked facing against traffic near the intersection of 11th Street and Michigan Avenue. Police responded to a tip about a possible prowler knocking on doors, and when interrogated, Howell stated he was in town for LA Pride.
Defendant Howell did admit he was planning to “attend” the Pride celebration, but never confessed to planning an attack. He did however plead guilty to three charges — including possession of a destructive device on a public road or highway and possession of a destructive device and unlawful assault weapon activity.
Authorities say they also found Howell in possession of a stun gun, a buck knife and two other loaded rifles with ammunition as well as a security badge when he was apprehended.
At the time of his arrest, Howell was already on probation in Indiana without permission to leave the state after he plead guilty to a misdemeanor intimidation charge. In October of 2015, he was reported twice in 72 hours after being accused of making threats at gunpoint, one involving a neighbor and the other his short-term boyfriend.
A mere 24 hours after Howell was booked in LA, Indiana authorities charged him with sexually molesting a 12-year-old female. Police believe he fled the state, then drove to Los Angeles.
Last modified: August 6, 2018