Just hours after the deadly Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, two years ago, an Indiana man was arrested and police confiscated weapons, ammunition and bomb-making materials found in his car.
In court this week, James Wesley Howell pleaded no contest to charges of unlawful assault weapon activity, possession of a destructive device on a public road or highway and possession of a destructive device. The 22-year-old was sentenced to 7 years in state prison on Thursday.
Howell was found sitting in his car in Santa Monica in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, after police responded to a call regarding a man knocking on residents’ windows and doors.
From the LA Times:
Inside his car, police found three rifles — including an Anderson Manufacturing AM-15 .223 caliber rifle that police described as an assault weapon — and two 30-round magazines.
In addition to the guns, Howell was also driving with a full five-gallon container of gasoline and a 25-pound container of “Shoc-shot,” a commercially sold two-component explosive that detonates when hit by a high-velocity rifle round, Santa Monica police said at the time.
Howell also had a black hood, a Taser, handcuffs, a Buck knife, a security badge and additional ammunition for the guns, court records show.
At the time of his arrest, Howell told police he was planning on attending LA Pride, but the Indianapolis Star later reported he had been charged with sexually molesting a 12-year-old girl in Indiana.
As a result of the Pulse shooting and the dangerous materials found in his possession, security measures were heightened at the Pride festival.