KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Tuesday, the man accused of killing five people during a shooting at an LGBTQ night club in Colorado Springs was charged with 305 criminal counts, including first degree murder, among other charges.
Here in Kansas City, Missouri, the city's LGBTQ commission said it's taking proactive measures to reduce the risk of a tragedy like that happening in our community.
This includes making sure businesses like Anchor Island Coffee, who's LGBTQ owned and operated, feel safe.
“We have to stick together, and fight together, because that is the only way to do it,” said Armando Vasquez, owner of Anchor Island Coffee.
Vasquez grinds hards everyday to make sure his customers and business are safe, especially after the recent attacks on LGBTQ spaces.
“As business owners and also being apart of the LGBTQ community, we are all together,” Vasquez said. “Because it’s not easy to just let it go or let it pass by.”
Justice Horn, the vice chair for the KCMO LGBTQ Commission, talked about how the commission is working to protect the community.
“How can we prevent harm from coming?" Horn said. "How can we reduce the likelihood of the atrocity, like what happened out in Colorado Springs, from happening here?”
According to Horn, the commission is sharing safety guidelines with LGBTQ businesses and community members — some he couldn't publicly share due to safety concerns.
“I want people to know that we are having internal conversations,” Horn said. “We can’t be absolutely transparent with everything, because there are folks who are seeking to do us harm, that are looking at every single thing that is being posted.”
According to Horn, the guidelines were sent out on Monday.
“If you see something — say something, and that we take every single instance or harm targeted towards our community absolutely serious right now,” Horn said.
The guidelines ranged from communication, to the messaging and wording about events that businesses or the community are promoting.
“Active flows of communication to local and federal law enforcement; from KCPD to the county, to our local FBI office,” Horn said, “It’s going to look different for every establishment. If that is off-duty officers, more public security, more metal detectors, if they choose that."
Vasquez said his businesses has a good relationship with the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department.
He also said Anchor Island is in the process of installing cameras as an added security measure.
“I am relieved, because now you know we have contacts and info from people that we can reach out to if we have an emergency,” Vasquez said.
Horn says the commission has been careful to not provoke fear into the LGBTQ community.
“It’s absolutely important for us as a community — as the LGBTQ community, to not live in fear, but to continue to go about life now more than ever,” Horn said. “We need to be leaning on each other, we need to be looking out for each other and we need to lean in."