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Threats to gay bars investigated after Orlando mass shooting

NEW YORK -- LGBT bars and establishments across the country are facing threats in the wake of the mass shooting Sunday at Orlando gay bar "Pulse," and police are strengthening security measures for June gay pride events.

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said Wednesday there have been a number of threats made against gay bars and night clubs in the city. He said the threats were made by "cowards" who came out of the woodwork after the mass shooting in Orlando that left 49 dead, but none appear to be credible.

On Monday, 40-year-old Justin Rice threatened to "come back Orlando-style" outside a Brooklyn gay bar, reports DNAinfo. He then allegedly hurled a metal bucket at a bouncer, narrowly missing him.

"I'm going to shoot this place up and get my 50 just like Orlando, Florida," Rice allegedly said just outside the Happy Fun Hideaway, the website reports. "I'm going to come back Orlando-style!"

Rice was charged with attempted assault, aggravated harassment and criminal possession of a weapon, the NYPD tells Crimesider.

Bratton says police will thoroughly investigate each of the threats and police treat all of them seriously. NYPD Chief of Department James O'Neill told WCBS 880 there will be an increased police presence at LGBT institutions, nightlife venues and crowded areas in the city.

In Atlanta, police determined a social media threat against two gay bars Monday night wasn't credible, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Twitter post referred to "the next Orlando" and mentioned TEN Atlanta and Blake's on the Park.

"TEN or Blake's could be the next Orlando," the user said in one Twitter post. "You think I am the type to be the next 'shooter'? Keep hating me then ..."

Police reportedly determined the user's Twitter account had been hacked over a dispute and discounted the threat.

In San Diego, police have said they're investigating a Craigslist post that threatened "Orlando was long overdue" and warned San Diegans were "next," though they're not aware of any credible threats. North of San Diego at Camp Pendleton, two active-duty Marines are being investigated for a social media post depicting a corporal in uniform holding an assault rifle and the message: "Coming to a gay bar near you!"

According to the Marine Corps Times, the post appeared on a private Facebook group for male Marines with the words "Too soon?" before the administrator deleted it and banned the person from the group.

In cities across the country, gay pride events scheduled for June - which marks LGBT pride month in commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall uprising in Manhattan - are seeing increased security measures.

Chicago police say the Orlando massacre has prompted the department to strengthen security at this weekend's gay pride festival and next weekend's gay pride parade.

Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Thursday that they know of no credible threats to the parade but that the additional uniformed and plainclothes officers will be dispatched out of "an abundance of caution."

In Colorado, organizers of the pride parade in Denver say they are taking similar precautions.

The Chicago parade has drawn nearly 1 million people and organizers say they expect crowds this year will be as big or larger as many in the LGBT community have told them they want to demonstrate their solidarity with the victims of the Orlando massacre.

In New York City, Bratton said he expects the city's gay pride parade on June 26 to be the largest in the city's history.

Bratton says there will be increased police presence at the parade, and NYC Pride co-chairs said in an online message that event organizers are working with the NYPD to adjust their existing security protocols in light of the attack.

The organizers stress that all gay pride events are to go on as scheduled.

"The reason for this is simple," the message reads. "We must never let those who wish to silence us win."

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