LGBTQ bars tighten up security in wake of shooting

Since the mass shooting in Orlando, LGBTQ establishments here in Austin are talking about stepping up their own security efforts. Austin Police also said, they will do all they can to keep people safe while in night clubs.

The shooting in Orlando hits close to home for Austinite, Ryan Blair.

“I’ve gone to pulse so many times I can't even keep count,” Ryan Blair, bar customer said.

Blair is from Daytona, about an hour north of Orlando. He's lived in Austin for the past year and a half.

“I had to spend the next whole day texting friends making sure they weren't there,” he said.

The shooting has rocked the LGBTQ community around the world and here in Austin. Some bars and clubs are now stepping up security efforts. The bar, BT2, is one of them.

“We have door people, we have id checkers, if someone comes in with a big bag we check that,” David Green, co-owner of BT2 said.

Green says they won't do much out of ordinary when it comes to security, but they will do what they have been doing much more intensely now. Monday morning they held a meeting to discuss security.

“The thought was fear, and what can I do to help protect the people who come to my establishment,” Green said.

Along with bar owners, the Austin Police Department pledges to help how they can.

“Austin's got a very vibrant nightlife, a very vibrant downtown entertainment district. The questions many ask are "could that happen here"? Brian Manley, APD Chief of Staff said.

APD says their Austin Regional Intelligence center or "ARIC" got to work when they first heard the news. They plan to step up security in and around bars downtown.

“it's unfortunate that we live in a time where you have to be prepared how you would respond for yourself and your family or whatever group you're with,” Manley said.

Austinites are all grieving the tragedy together.

“I think it hit me hardest when the kid was in the bathroom texting his mom and you're thinking what if that were me’? Ryan Newcomb, assistant general manager of BT2, said.

But LGBTQ bars and other establishments say they are not going to let fear creep into their daily lives.

“I think we were targeted but the target was fear motivated and to create terror,” Green said.

Austin police mentioned the pride parade coming up in August. They say they will be out in full force looking for any unusual activity.

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