Portland police confirmed Thursday that more city residents have reported received threatening, homophobic letters, bringing the total to at least seven instances in Portland and South Portland.

Two city councilors, one from Portland and one from South Portland, issued a joint statement Thursday denouncing the hate mail as deeply threatening and malicious.

Four complaints of homophobic mail were received this week, and Portland police investigated three additional complaints on Thursday, department spokesman Lt. Robert Martin said.

“We have collected the letters and will be examining them for forensic evidence,” Martin said in an email. “It is hard to say how many more we might get, but I can say that the geographic area has expanded. Residents in the Deering Center, Oakdale and Riverton neighborhoods received letters.”

Martin said that a detective has been assigned to handle the investigation. He indicated that the department is reaching outside the department for assistance. He did not elaborate on which resources the department might be tapping into.

Four people with no obvious connection to each other received copies of a threatening, homophobic letter on Tuesday. Three of the identical letters were addressed to Portland residents, two who live on Brighton Avenue and one who lives on Capisic Street. In two cases, the recipients displayed a pride flag outside their homes. In the third case, the recipient is gay, but had no obvious pride-related symbols on their home, police said.

The fourth person who received a letter Tuesday lives in South Portland, and both police departments are investigating and are working with postal officials to try to determine the source of the letters.

All of the letters contained an image of a rainbow pride flag with the Satanic Temple logo superimposed over it, along with a threatening message that contained a slur against gay people. Portland police have declined to release an image of the threat or to say specifically what the message was, but said the message implied action against the recipients, meaning it met the criteria for a charge of terrorizing, Martin said.

Portland’s District 4 City Councilor Andrew J. Zarro and South Portland City Councilor Jocelyn Leighton denounced the hate mail in a joint statement. Zarro and Leighton said they felt a sense of urgency to stand up and amplify LGBTQ voices that often go unrecognized. They said they wanted to express their solidarity with “our queer friends and neighbors who fear they will be the recipient of the next act of hate.”

“Let us unite in rejecting this hate from our communities, and to lead with compassion and sympathy toward a brighter, more inclusive tomorrow,” the councilors said.

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