Man going to LGBT event pleads not guilty to weapons charges

James Howell

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An Indiana man who told police he was headed to a gay pride event in California and was found with a loaded assault rifle and chemicals mixed and ready to explode in his car has pleaded not guilty to weapons charges.

James Wesley Howell, of Charlestown, Indiana, was also charged Tuesday with possessing a destructive device. His attorney declined to comment.

Authorities say Howell was stopped in Santa Monica in July with a loaded AR-15 rifle and magazines rigged to allow shots to be fired in quick succession. They say he also had 15 pounds of chemicals mixed and ready to explode.

Howell said he was going to a gay pride event in West Hollywood.

Howell was arrested the same day 49 people were killed at a gay nightclub in Florida.

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