Owners of gay clubs in Milwaukee say Orlando tragedy brought people out: “It’s brought us closer together”

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MILWAUKEE -- Owners of gay nightclubs in Milwaukee say they're definitely rethinking security in the wake of the worst mass shooting in United States' history, which happened early Sunday, June 12th at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. But after 49 people were killed and another 53 were hurt, one thing seems certain -- customers are not scared, and they're not staying home.

Walker's Point

Walker's Point

Milwaukee's Walker's Point neighborhood is where Sunday's Milwaukee Pride Parade took place, and is home to numerous gay bars and nightclubs.

Many who frequent the area said they've been impacted by the horrific incident in Orlando.

Thomas Kaplinski with "This is It," a gay bar located near Milwaukee Street and Wells in downtown Milwaukee told FOX6 News an entertainer at the bar actually started his career at Pulse in Orlando.

Entertainer at This Is It in Walker's Point

Thomas Kaplinski

Thomas Kaplinski

"We were slammed -- busy (on Saturday night) and no one said anything about it. We didn't hear about it until the morning," Kaplinski said.

In the wake of this shooting, security will be a topic of discussions at some of the clubs in Milwaukee.

"Your mind would be going, do you run for the door? Do you hide or do you try to take somebody out? You really-- I don't know what I would do. We talked with police. They're patrolling our street more and just watching things -- but I don't think it's stopped anyone from going out or having fun or being who they really are and showing off their pride," Kaplinski said.

Walker's Point

Walker's Point

Walker's Point

Walker's Point

Rainbow flags decorated poles in the street in the Walker's Point neighborhood on Monday, June 13th after PrideFest this past weekend.

Many in the neighborhood didn't want to talk with FOX6 News on camera, but said despite the concerns and sadness after the tragedy in Orlando, Sunday was one of their busiest days ever.

"It's very concerning, but here in Milwaukee we do have such a strong community and I think it actually brought us closer together, that this is a hate crime. It's very disturbing to everyone in the community," Kaplinski said.

Many owners of gay nightclubs in Milwaukee told FOX6 News the tragedy in Orlando didn't create terror and fear, but instead, actually brought people out.

Pulse nightclub in Orlando

Pulse nightclub in Orlando

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