WILTON MANORS, FLA. (WSVN) - The mass shooting at a gay nightclub has had an effect on LGBT+ establishments and the community, making businesses and security very present.
Celebrations are part of the happy reality at places like The Pub in Wilton Manors, but there’s another reality as well.
“We are in high alert tonight, and we will be on high alert going forward,” said Michael Connell, owner of The Pub.
The mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs is yet another attack on the LGBT+ community.
Police said accused shooter Anderson Aldrich was motivated by hate.
Closer to home in Wilton Manors, police are upping their presence.
In a statement, the Wilton Manors Police Chief said, “… we have enhanced our focus on our arts and entertainment district and other LGBTQ+ establishments to provide a greater presence, while also working with those in our community to feel safer. We have worked with our establishments in the past to promote best safety practices in serving their patrons and just this morning began planning our next training session with our business community.”
“My experience has been is the police has always had our backs,” said Jeff Morse, a customer at The Pub.
But some business owners, like Connell, aren’t depending on police alone. Managers at his restaurant, The Pub, just went through a mandatory safety training.
“Look for people who stood out, look for people that was loners, look for people that might be over intoxicated, you know, all those things,” said Connell. “You just can’t look at one person and say this is a person you should look for. In today’s environment, some of the least suspecting people are the ones that do what they do.”
The Pub has also added more personnel at the front door to help guard against the worst case scenario, which not only happened in Colorado Springs but in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub in June of 2016, where 49 people were shot and killed.
A safe haven for the LGBTQ community was shattered.
“Even if you haven’t been to Club Q or Pulse, you’ve been to those places in your neighborhood. It’s like a home invasion. It’s something people don’t recover from,” said Barbara Poma, owner, Pulse Nightclub.
“We have to stay vigilant because it can happen any minute, and hopefully it will never happen,” said Connell.
“Its just so darn sad; why can’t we just all get along?” said Morse.
In light of all this, the Wilton Manors Police Department has set up a hotline: 954-390-2150. They ask, if you see something suspicious, say something.
Connell said he and his staff will have another meeting tomorrow to see what else they can do to keep people safe.
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