Pride Houston increasing security after mass shooting in Orlando
HOUSTON – LGBT communities are coming together after a horrific scene at an Orlando gay nightclub where a gunman killed and injured dozens in what's being called one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
Pride events around the world took notice and are increasing security.
The Houston Police Department said Monday that additional police officers will be present at the Pride Houston parade on Saturday, June 25.
Executive Assistant Chief George T. Buenik with HPD said the department was confident in its original detail plan, but in light of current events has made some minor adjustments.
"We've successfully provided law enforcement services for the Pride parade for a number of years, especially when it was in the Montrose area and now that it is Downtown," Buenik said.
He said parade attendees can expect an increase in officers patrolling the area on-foot, on bikes and undercover. He said the department has not finalized its official plan, but has enough officers to keep everyone out of danger.
"We really want people to feel safe and secure when they come Downtown," Buenik said. "We want them to come and enjoy the parade. We don't want people to be afraid."
Pride Houston organizer Frankie Quijano was on KPRC 2 News Today and spoke with Rachel McNeill about how the Pulse Orlando shooting is impacting events in Houston.
"We're completely devastated. When one of us hurts, all of us hurts. Basically, we are Orlando and we feel their pain. We are with them throughout and support them," Quijano said.
Officials identified the Pulse Orlando club shooter as Omar Mateen. Forty-nine people were killed, including Mateen, and at least 53 were injured.
Quijano said that Pride Houston is working closely with the city to address security concerns in the wake of the Orlando shooting.
"You can expect increased security all around," Quijano said.
Although some members are concerned, others are not going to let fear control them.
"We've come too far in our community and our fight for equality to let this stop us," Quijano said.
Houston Pride Week is June 19-26. The Houston Pride Festival & Parade is June 25 in Downtown Houston.
For more information about Houston Pride Week, visit PrideHouston.org.