Police to beef up security for SF Pride parade in wake of mass shooting

Officials plan to beef up law enforcement presence at San Francisco’s 46th Pride Parade on June 26 after more than 50 people were massacred in an LGBT nightclub in Orlando on Sunday.

But parade organizers, elected officials and police remain positive the event will be a celebration and a reminder of the LGBT communities’ resilience, despite the continued violence aimed at them.

“We’re very pleased by the response and the cooperation of law enforcement and we are also very heartened by the LGBT community who has reached out and said they will not be deterred by this terrorist act,” said Sam Singer, a spokesperson for Pride organizers.

On Monday, interim Police Chief Toney Chaplin said there will be an increased police presence in and around Pride celebrations. In addition, the FBI has offered its assistance.

While the chance of a threat to the parade is “extremely high,” since the Pride event could be a target, there is no specific intelligence pointing to any planned violence, said Chaplin.

“There are no threats pointing to the S.F. Pride parade,” he said.

In addition to the attack in Orlando, authorities arrested an Indiana man early Sunday morning in Santa Monica after police discovered weapons and explosives in his car prior to a major Los Angeles gay pride parade.

James Howell, 20, was charged Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court with three felony weapons violations. At the time of his arrest, Howell reportedly told police he was headed to a gay pride event in West Hollywood, though it is unclear if Howell intended any violence at the parade.

Meanwhile in San Francisco, police met with parade organizers and nightclub owners Monday in order to further coordinate security and open lines of communication.

Supervisor Scott Wiener, who called for the meeting with club owners, said The City and Pride organizers have always worked hand in hand to try and make the event as safe as possible, and this year will be no different except for the increased vigilance.

“People are looking forward to Pride and we are all just devastated by what happened in Orlando,” said Wiener. “But this is a tough and resilient community and this community bounces back fast.”

The San Francisco Examiner will spotlight The City’s LGBT community in Wednesday editions leading up to a special section for San Francisco Pride 2016 on June 22.

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