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How police caught James Howell before he attacked a gay pride parade

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jun 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-12 23:12:45-04

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- A resident of Santa Monica, California thought a prowler was in their neighborhood. That's how police thwarted what could have been Sunday's second terror attack on the LGBT community.

Police were called early in the morning, just before 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time (8:00 a.m. Eastern) after someone said a man was knocking on a door and window of a home.  

When officers arrived, Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks says they found James Howell, 20, inside a car registered to Indiana.

James is from New Albany, though a Facebook page that appears to be his says he currently lives in Jeffersonville. 

RELATED | Indiana man threatens gay pride event in Los Angeles

Inside the car with Howell, police say, were three assault rifles, high capacity magazines, ammunition and a five-gallon bucket of chemicals "capable of forming an improvised explosive device."  

A bomb squad had to be called to secure the car, and Howell was arrested.

Seabrooks said on Twitter that Howell was headed to a large LA Pride event, which draws hundreds of thousands to Southern California.  

The event happened to be taking place the same day as the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left at least 50 people dead and more than 50 others in the hospital.

Police do not believe there is a connection between Howell and the Orlando shootings.

RELATED | James Howell's previous arrest in Indiana

Howell was arrested last October for pointing a gun at his neighbor in Indiana. He pled guilty to intimidation and was still on probation.