Metro Weekly

Man Flashes Gun at The Abbey, a West Hollywood Gay Bar

Law enforcement authorities are continuing to review the bar's surveillance footage to try and identify the suspect.

Abbey, gay bar, nightclub
The Abbey Food & Bar – Photo: Yelp.

Law enforcement authorities are still searching for a man who allegedly flashed a gun inside a popular West Hollywood gay bar last Thursday.

Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to The Abbey Food & Bar shortly after midnight after receiving reports that a person had a firearm in the bar.

The suspect had been spotted by one of the bar’s security guards as he attempted to hand the gun off to another patron. The suspect did not make any threats toward any other people inside The Abbey.

The club was evacuated as deputies searched for the suspect, but were unable to locate him. Deputies say they believe the suspect left the bar about five minutes before deputies arrived on scene, reports CBS News.

Police also warned nearby businesses in order to warn them to be on the lookout for the suspect, but no sightings were reported.

“We contacted multiple businesses around the area to give them a heads up, to let them know who we were looking for,” Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Joana Warren said.

Police later viewed surveillance footage from inside the bar, and claim they saw a person flashing what appeared to be a firearm. No arrests have been made in the case, nor has a description of the suspect been released, but the investigation remains ongoing, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The incident drew a strong response from local law enforcement agencies, with units from the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills Police Departments arriving on scene to assist the sheriff’s deputies. The incident also put many community members on high alert, coming just weeks after a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. 

“It kind of just feels like it could happen to any of us at any moment,” Abbey patron Erika Repsch told CBS News. “I don’t live in fear, but I’m definitely nervous when going out. I’m hoping that the Abbey is doing everything they can to protect everyone, and it sounds like with what happened last night they are. They do have a heightened sense of security.”

In the wake of the Colorado Springs shooting, some LGBTQ people have questioned whether gay clubs should hire more security to do pat downs of customers to check for weapons or install metal detectors to ensure similar incidents don’t happen elsewhere. But others say increasing security measures — especially if armed security guards are involved — may drive away patrons who are distrustful of police or have had negative experiences with law enforcement.

“We don’t want to have security guys at the door with guns,” said patron Robert Nelson. “It’s supposed to be all are welcome. All are coming in, having a good time.”

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