Rainbow flag signs with "#ShootBack" written on them were found plastered across West Hollywood on Thursday morning, causing a stir among residents and condemnation from city leaders, less than a week after the shooting rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
The flags, blending a snake symbol used by the Tea Party with the symbol for gay pride, were found all over the Southern California city Thursday morning, including in front of City Hall and one of the city's most popular gay bars, the Abbey.
Crews worked all afternoon to remove the signs. City leaders say even though they're still angry about the Orlando massacre, they are against the message on the signs.
"As we see them our Public Works Department is taking them down because we don't allow the posting of any sign on our trees or poles," City Councilman John Duran said.
It's not known who posted the flags.
Duran says the city is reeling over the Orlando massacre and the arrest of a suspect in Santa Monica headed to the LA Pride Parade with guns and explosives the same morning.
"As a people, I think we're pretty accustomed to acts of hatred and violence and we've learned to work our way through it," he said. "We're still in shock and anger at this moment, the community that we literally dodged a bullet on Sunday possibly with the individual in Santa Monica."
Some residents said their anger doesn't mean they, too, want to pick up a gun.
"The idea of 'shoot back' is so playing into the hands of the NRA that I feel like everyone has turned Republican in this town, and that doesn't happen in this town," resident Lisa Beach said.
The owner of the Abbey reacted to the flags with a statement saying, "the best way to shoot back is to enact serious change to our gun policy and urge a ban on assault weapons."
Forty-nine people were killed and dozens more were injured in the shooting at Pulse in Orlando.