LGBTQ community on edge after Colorado shooting; police chief offers assurances

Taking to social media, Palm Springs Police Chief Andy Mills said members of his department are both sad and outraged and plan to be proactive in their response.
Palm Springs Police Chief Andy Mills and his wife, Cathy Mills, walk in the 2022 Palm Springs Pride Parade along with others from the city’s police and fire departments

The deadly shooting at a dance club in Colorado over the weekend was another chilling reminder that no community is safe and that the LGBTQ community is increasingly under attack. In Palm Springs, long known as a welcome haven for all, police are stepping up to offer assurances.

Driving the news: Palm Springs Police Chief Andy Mills delivered a clear message this week to the LGBTQ community following Saturday’s shooting that left five dead at Club Q in Colorado Springs. Taking to social media, Mills said members of his department are both sad and outraged and plan to be proactive in their response.

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  • “I am in touch with police leaders in Colorado and will make security adjustments as needed,” Mills wrote. “I know some of our friends feel vulnerable for merely existing. We want you to feel and be safe in Palm Springs and we are dedicated to your safety.”

In The Arenas District, where police have beefed up their presence, owners of some clubs and bars joined many residents in expressing shock following the shootings. Still, they weren’t surprised to hear of more violence directed at the LGBTQ population, especially given attacks on the gay community, and gay rights, by some right-wing pundits and GOP politicians.

  • One of those attacks was aimed at a drag performer in Palm Springs just this past August.

What they’re saying: “They’ve created a hatred that is so bad, the worst I’ve seen it,” Jim Osterberger, the owner of Quadz, told local media about the rhetoric. “We used to get rocks through the windows, now we have to worry about semiautomatic weapons.”

Moving forward: At The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert, Director of Communications Tomás Prower told KESQ-TV that the fact a club-goer stopped the gunman in Colorado shows the strength of the LGBTQ community, which is used to having to defend itself.

  • “It was our community that helped stop the gunman, coming together and preventing more injury,” Prower told reporter Jake Ingrassia. “We have to look out for each other, especially in times like this when who else will.”

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