River City Pride Parade takes on somber undertone after deadly LGBTQ+ nightclub shooting in Colorado

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The River City Pride Board reassessed the security measures ahead of its parade on Sunday following the attack on an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs.

A 22-year-old gunman opened fire inside the nightclub on Saturday night, killing five people and leaving 25 injured before he was subdued by “heroic” patrons and arrested by police who arrived within minutes, authorities said Sunday.

Two firearms, including a “long rifle,” were found at Club Q after the Saturday night shooting, said Police Chief Adrian Vasquez. On its Facebook page, the club called it a “hate attack.”

The River City Pride Board issued a statement before the Sunday parade condemning the attack and calling for unity.

“Like you, the RCP Board woke up this morning learning of yet another horrible attack affecting LGBTQ+ community. From what we know so far, at least 5 people were killed and many others injured at an LGBTQ+ nightclub shooting in Colorado Springs late last night. We are saddened by this news and our hearts are heavy,” the board wrote. “This this type of violence is inexcusable, unacceptable and demonstrates the need for us to come together in support of each other. Today’s parade will continue as planned and with safety remaining at the forefront of our minds.”

The board said it partnered with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to ensure safety throughout the parade route and considered further heightening the level of security during Sunday’s event.

When the event kicked off, hundreds lined the streets for the parade in Riverside and there were no reported incidents that News4JAX is aware of. Instead, there were hundreds of happy faces, different decorated floats, signs and gay pride flags.

But some people did say they were on edge about attending the parade after the deadly shooting just hours before.

“The hatred itself how are these people being raised that hatred is such an overwhelming thing in their upbringing,” said Susan Crouse.

“This is love. This is freedom,” said Constance Williams. “This is choice and every child and every adult deserves these freedoms right here.”