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Gun Violence Threats, Burning Swastika At Denver Pride Parade

By Melissa Garcia

DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) - Police had an increased presence at Denver's PrideFest as thousands celebrated at Civic Center Park. The day got off to a shaky start, however, with threats of violence before the Pride Parade.

Vanessa Martinez was waiting for the parade to start at Colfax Avenue and Grant Street when she says a man, yelling profanities, threatened her daughters with gun violence.

(credit: CBS)

"Of course I'm going to protect them," Vanessa Martinez said. "I jumped in front of her, and that's when he said that he was going to shoot us, and started acting like he was going to pull out a gun on all of us."

PHOTO GALLERY: Pride Parade 2016

No shots were fired.

Police took the man into custody, but had not released his identity or charges as of Sunday afternoon.

(credit: CBS)

Another show of hate broke out down the block at Colfax and Sherman when someone lit wood chips on fire in the shape of a swastika. Maria Martinez and her wife saw it burning.

"It's just stupid," said Maria Martinez. "You know, we're in 2016, and people should be able to be who they are."

Gov. John Hickenlooper at PrideFest (credit: CBS)

Hours later, Gov. John Hickenlooper spoke at a rally in Civic Center Park in support of the LGBT community.

"We're not going to let this terrible act of hate undo everything that we have worked so hard to achieve over these years," Hickenlooper told the crowd.

(credit: CBS)

He and other leaders spoke of the tragedy in Orlando that has left an entire community in mourning. People in the crowd took a moment of silence to stand in solidarity and remember the 49 lives lost.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to

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