Local nightclub owner: Orlando attack hit 'close to home'

Locals react to nightclub massacre
Published: Jun. 13, 2016 at 12:02 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 13, 2016 at 5:09 AM EDT
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Play nightclub. (Source: Sharon Yoo/WAVE 3 News)
Play nightclub. (Source: Sharon Yoo/WAVE 3 News)
Micah McGowan (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Micah McGowan (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Micah McGowan says the people who visit his nightclub, Play, in Louisville are fun-loving.

"They're here to have a good time," he said. "We are an LGBT bar, but we get tons of straight allies that come in here. It's a different group."

When he heard that more than 100 people - 50 fatally - were shot at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando, Fla., McGowan said his heart tore.

"(I was) devastated. It hit really close to home," he said. "We have a lot of friends that perform at Pulse, and people that have performed at Pulse that come and perform at Play."

McGowan says the biggest terror attack on United States soil since 9/11 has taught him that no place is a perfect sanctuary.

"We kind of think that it could happen anywhere,"he said. "I listened to President Obama speak today and he said it could have been anyone."

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With the 16th annual Kentuckiana Pride Fest coming up Friday and Saturday, McGowan says he will be adding security at the club.

"We'll be having an extra security guard over the weekends, especially throughout Pride month," he said. "I feel like everywhere, every space, gay or straight will be looking to amp their security up."

For the people who are planning to attend the weekend's activities, the director of the festival says organizers will do everything in their ability to make sure everyone feels safe during the two-day festival.

"We are working with local, state and federal agencies to make sure we have a safe environment," Kentuckiana Pride Director Rodney Coffman said. "We have basically a one-entry, one-exit type of festival. We have a security company and the Louisville Metro Police Department."

Meanwhile McGowan said his goal is for everyone to feel at ease celebrating their community. He added that the LGBT community is a resilient one, which he expects to bounce back.

"I think in the months down the road, the LGBT community and the movement is going to be stronger than ever," he said.

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