SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ community is saddened, upset and speaking out against hate and violence after a deadly nightclub shooting in Colorado.
Investigators in Colorado Springs say a gunman armed with an AR-15 style rifle opened fire at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub. Five were killed and 17 were hurt.
The 22-year-old suspect is facing murder and hate crime charges.
Yet another attack targeting the LGBTQ+ community is resonating in San Francisco and especially the The Castro District, which is synonymous with gay culture.
"These are attacks against our community and we share the outrage and the grief," said Stephen Torres, Castro LGBTQ+ Cultural District chair. "We have to be vigilant. We have to keep our eyes out for each other."
Hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community are on the rise.
Nonprofit Human Rights Campaign says one in five hate crimes across the country are motivated by anti-LGBTQ bias.
Some fear what happened in Colorado Springs could happen in San Francisco, given the rise in gun violence.
"A lot of us who used to go out at night…we’re not. We’re targets," said Tom Lappin. "It’s going to happen again and again and again until they take assault weapons off the market."
There’s also frustration and anger over hateful rhetoric playing out in politics, on television and social media.
"It’s not getting better, it’s getting worse," said Suzanne Ford, executive director of San Francisco Pride. "We have to call that out everywhere. We cannot accept hate in any form and we’ve got to say if you vote for these people, if you subscribe to this messaging, then you’re part of the problem, too."
This comes amid transgender awareness week.
Scott said more than three dozen trans people have been killed so far this year nationwide.
San Francisco Police Department says it has not received any credible threats of violence against the LGBTQ+ community, but officers are standing ready to respond to any emergencies.
The Castro Community On Patrol said it is stepping up efforts to make people feel safe.
LGBTQ+ Community leaders say it’s critical that people are united, unafraid to speak up, and promote love over hate.
"That’s how you combat this," Torres said. "That’s how you combat fear, that’s how you combat terrorism."