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Indiana Man Arrested in Santa Monica with Arsenal in Car
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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jorge Casuso

June 13, 2016 -- An Indiana man was arrested in Santa Monica early Sunday morning after police found three firearms and chemicals that could be used to make explosives inside his car, police said.

The suspect -- identified as James Wesley Howell, 20 -- told police he was going to the Gay Pride Parade in West Hollywood but did not indicate "what his intentions were," said Lt. Saul Rodriguez, the Police Department spokesman.

Police detained Howell at the 1700 block of 11th Street at 4:59 a.m. after receiving calls from neighbors about a "suspicious individual hanging around the area," Rodriguez said during a press conference Sunday afternoon.

Officers arriving at the scene noticed that there was a rifle on the seat of the car and subsequently found two other assault rifles, high-powered magazines,

Photo of suspect -- identified as James Wesley Howell, 20.

ammunition and chemicals capable of forming an improvised explosive device, according to Santa Monica police.

As soon as the chemicals were discovered, police called the FBI and the LAPD bomb unit, both of which arrived at the scene, Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said Santa Monica Police and the FBI are investigating the case.

The man was arrested three hours after a gunman in Orlando fatally shot 50 people and wounded another 53 during a shooting rampage at a gay nightclub.

"We have no indication at all that this is connected to the Orlando incident," Rodriguez said.

According to the Associated Press, a neighbor said that he had stepped outside at 3 a.m. and saw Howell's white sedan parked on the street facing in the wrong direction.

He said the man seemed to have seen him looking and ran across the street, where he hid in the bushes and overhanging trees, AP reported. Another neighbor called police, leading to Howell's arrest.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Howell was arrested in Clark County in Southern Indiana in October 2015 and charged with a felony for pointing a firearm and a misdemeanor for intimidation.

In April Howell pleaded guilty to the intimidation charge, but the firearm charge was dismissed, according to the Star. He was sentenced to a year of probation, during which he was ordered to "forfeit all weapons."

Howell's most recent residence was listed in court records as Jeffersonville, which is part of the Louisville metropolitan area, according to the Star.

Rodriguez said on Sunday afternoon police did not know what Howell was doing in Santa Monica.

Howell is being held in Santa Monica jail on $500,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, according to police.

Anyone with more information on the incident should call Detective Dereck Leone at (313) 458-8949, Sgt. Maury Sumlin at (310) 458-8437, or FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiler at (310) 420-6441.

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