Claim: Armed Pride Parade Man Faces Molestation Charges

| by Sheena Vasani
James HowellJames Howell

The armed man headed to the Los Angeles pride parade on June 12 may have been on the run after molesting a child.

James Howell, 20, from Indiana, was found with three assault rifles as well as materials that could create explosives, KTLA reports.

He was stopped just hours after Omar Mateen shot 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, causing further alarm.

Two weeks before, on May 31, Howell was charged with felony child molestation for reportedly having sex in a car with a 12-year-old girl, TMZ reports.

Some believe Howell left for California after Indiana authorities interviewed him at the police station.

“He might have got scared because he got in trouble here and stuff,” 18-year-old Joseph Greeson, one of Howell's friends, told the IndyStar. “He might have just been heading out and then had the guns with him for whatever reason and just, you know, wrong place and wrong time.”

Howell would eventually be arrested on June 12 in Santa Monica, California, while reportedly on his way to meet up with a man he met online.

They were allegedly going to attend the L.A. Pride parade together in West Hollywood when police found the weapons in Howell’s car.

"The amount of explosives in the container would have posted a grave danger to both persons and property had the explosives been detonated, either intentionally or accidentally, in a public space," Detective Derek Leone said of the weapons found. "Based on this combination of materials, it is my opinion that the defendant poses a significant danger to the community."

An ex-boyfriend of Howell’s adds that the arrest was not entirely shocking.

“It didn’t surprise me. It didn’t surprise me at all,” said 17-year-old Zach Hambrick.

“After things went bad, that’s when he started getting violent with me,” he added, also noting Howell collected guns for unknown reasons.

“I don’t know why he had so many,” Hambrick said. “He didn’t hunt. He just had them.”

While Howell says he did not plan to harm anybody at the parade, police are still investigating.

Sources: KTLA, IndyStar, TMZ / Photo credit: KTLA

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