Police respond to bomb threat at Salt Lake bookstore drag storytime event

Salt Lake police were called to investigate a suspicious circumstance at the King’s English Bookstore on Sunday.

Salt Lake police were called to investigate a suspicious circumstance at the King’s English Bookstore on Sunday. (Salt Lake police)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake police responded Sunday to a bomb threat at a drag queen story time held at the King's English Bookstore.

Police responded to the bookstore, 1511 S. 1500 East, at 9:36 a.m. and closed 1500 East from Emerson Avenue to Kensington Street and helped evacuate the bookstore, according to a statement from Salt Lake police. Officers searched the interior and exterior of the building, along with a K-9 unit certified in detecting explosive materials, before clearing the scene around 11:11 a.m. and determining there was no threat.

The event was to be held at 11 a.m. with local drag queen and storyteller Tara Lipsyncki, according to the King's English Bookshop website. The event was advertised for all ages with the intention to capture "the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive and unabashedly queer role models."

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall responded to the incident in a social media post saying, "I cannot say this strongly enough, EVERYONE belongs in Salt Lake City. The actions today to cause fear at @KingsEnglish around a drag story time event are not welcome here. We're looking forward to working with King's English so this event can happen at a future date for all those who wanted to be there today."

Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a nonprofit organization, reported 161 incidents of anti-LGBTQ protests and threats nationwide targeting drag events since early 2022.

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Ashley Fredde covers human services and women's issues for KSL.com. She also enjoys reporting on arts, culture and entertainment news. She's a graduate of the University of Arizona.


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