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'We are not backing down': Brick Road Coffee standing strong as FBI takes on bomb-threat investigation

Co-founder speaks exclusively with 12News about the situation.

TEMPE, Ariz — A Tempe Pride flag hanging outside of city hall was recently burned by a vandal, the city said Tuesday.

The city chose to hang a special Pride flag with the Tempe logo alongside the American, Arizona, and Juneteenth flags on the flagpole outside of city hall, but someone took it down and burned it.

The hateful act comes on the same day that an LGBTQ+ 'State of emergency' was declared, and just months after a bomb threat targeted an LGBTQ+-owned coffee shop in the same area, an investigation that the FBI recently took over.


Brick Road Coffee hosted its first Story Time Drag Show back in February, with a focus on Black History Month. About 20 minutes into the show, everyone attending had to be evacuated when police told them about the bomb threat.

“That was an unfortunate instance of hate,” co-founder Gabe Hagen said about the incident. “It’s just misguided unfortunately and that’s disappointing to see."

The incident has now been turned over to the FBI for investigation. No bomb was found at the site, but detectives said a far-right extremist group was seen near the shop on the day the threat was made.

Hagan and his partner decided to close their doors for the day after the threat out of an abundance of caution. However, they didn’t let the hateful act from that day stop them from continuing their business.

“Showing people that we are not backing down is the greatest way we can kind of stand for our support for the community,” Hagen said.

Word of what happened gained national attention and support from those all over the country. Hagen said their online sales skyrocketed with people buying merchandise and coffee.

“It’s been a catalyst honestly for us to continue to do more for the community and really stand as a beacon of support,” he said.

While they don’t know who made the threat, Hagen feels it’s important not to show anger in situations like this, but to remain resilient. Showing no matter what hateful deeds are done, standing firm is the only way to move forward.

“There is a way to overcome and it’s just through continuing to spread that love and kindness,” he said.

Celebrating Pride in Arizona

June is Pride Month! Check out the various ways Arizona's LGBTQ+ community is celebrating around the state.



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