The man who shot up a gay club in Colorado Springs earlier this month has drawn praise in online forums, Homeland Security said Wednesday, warning that LGBT individuals now face a heightened risk of attack in the coming months.
The department revealed the praise in an updated terrorism threat assessment adding the LGBT community to the more traditional list of targets that includes politicians, houses of worship and racial minorities.
“Following the late November shooting at an LGBTQI+ bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado — which remains under investigation — we have observed actors on forums known to post racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist content praising the alleged attacker,” the department said.
It said it had also detected similar praise for the shooter in an attack on a gay bar in Slovakia in October.
Homeland Security also singled out ongoing threats to the Jewish community after a man was arrested in New Jersey earlier this month for sharing a manifesto threatening synagogues. The man claimed to have been motivated by fealty to the Islamic State (ISIS).
Both of those were new additions to the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin, which regularly updates the country on the range of domestic threats the federal government sees.
The latest version says the two-year anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump could be a spark for more violence.
And while the recent midterm election didn’t draw much violence, Homeland Security said it still sees “heightened political tensions” that could use the upcoming certification of some state election results as a focus for unrest.
“Our homeland continues to face a heightened threat environment — as we have seen, tragically, in recent acts of targeted violence — and is driven by violent extremists seeking to further a political or social goal or act on a grievance,” Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement releasing the new advisory.
The advisory lays out the government’s view of threats between now and late May.