LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An Indiana man headed for the LA Pride parade in West Hollywood with an alleged cache of weapons, ammunition and bomb-making materials in his car was charged Tuesday with possessing an assault weapon and explosives.
James Wesley Howell, 20, is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on felony counts (PDF) of unlawful possession of an assault weapon, possession of a destructive device on a public street, manufacturing or importing a large magazine and a misdemeanor count of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Howell was arrested at about 5 a.m. Sunday in the 1700 block of 11th Street, near Olympic Boulevard – hours after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, left 49 people and the gunman dead.
Wesley was being held on $500,000 bail after being booked on suspicion of possessing weapons and explosives, but prosecutors will ask that his bail be set at $2 million, District Attorney’s officials said.
Federal authorities continue to investigate Howell, suggesting he may still face federal charges. FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the bureau’s Indianapolis field office executed a federal search warrant at Howell’s home in Clark County, Indiana on Monday night.
“Mr. Howell has not been charged federally at this time, however, the investigation is ongoing,” Eimiller said.
Officers examining Howell’s white Acura sedan with Indiana license plates recovered three assault rifles, high capacity magazines and ammunition along with a 5-gallon bucket with chemicals that could have been used to make an improvised explosive device, police said. The sheriff’s department bomb squad was called to help make sure the vehicle and area were safe, police said.
Howell told police he was planning to attend the 46th annual LA Pride Parade and Festival in West Hollywood, but made no reference to doing harm there, according to Santa Monica police Lt. Saul Rodriguez.
Police said there was no known connection between Howell and the mass shooting in Orlando.
Authorities in the Southland have been trying to determine Howell’s intentions.
On Monday, the Walt Disney Co. announced that it had increased security at its theme parks.
“Unfortunately we’ve all been living in a world of uncertainty, and during this time we have increased our security measures across our properties, adding such visible safeguards as magnetometers, additional canine units, and law enforcement officers on site, as well as less visible systems that employ state-of-the-art security technologies,” Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said in a statement.
(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)