WASHINGTON (DC News Now)—DC Police will increase patrols near LGBTQ+ bars following last weekend’s mass shooting in Colorado Springs.
According to Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, five people were shot and killed at Club Q Saturday. 18 others were injured.
In response, MPD officer Hugh Carew said, “The Metropolitan Police Department has increased patrols around LGBTQ+ establishments citywide. At this time, there are no known threats to any events or locations in the district. MPD will continue to monitor the developments in Colorado Springs and share information with our local, regional and federal law enforcement partners.”
“It definitely makes you think more. That thought is always going to cross your mind now,” said Eli Downs, who will begin serving as General Manager at JR’s Bar and Grill in Dupont Circle next month.
Downs has worked at the bar for years and said he always feels safe at the establishment on 17th Street, which is a pillar in the District’s LGBTQ community.
Still, he is okay with the added police presence.
“I don’t necessarily know that police need to increase, as long as they’re keeping up that relationship with gay bars and making an effort,” he said. “These (bars) are safe havens, so when something like this does happen it affects people everywhere. It’s not just Colorado.”
The Mayor’s Office for LGBTQ Affairs is also working to address community concerns, like hate based crimes.
“We meet monthly with our violence prevention and response teams,” said Japer Bowles, Director of the office. “We are lucky because in DC we are resource rich, but it still does happen.”
According to data from MPD, 32 hate crimes based on sexual orientation have happened in the District from January through September of 2022.
MPD reminds the community, “to report suspicious activity or potential threats by going to iwatchdc.org, by calling 202-727-9099, or by texting 50411.”