A private security guard is in custody after he shot and killed another man during a rival protest by left-wing and right-wing groups in Denver, Colorado on Saturday.
The security guard was reportedly a contractor for local television station 9News. It later said on its website that it has “been the practice for a number of months to hire private security to accompany staff at protests.”
The shooting took place in the courtyard of the Denver Art Museum during a “Patriot Rally” that was met by a group of counter-protesters who called their rally “BLM-Antifa Soup Drive.”
According to witnesses at the scene, the supporter participating in the “Patriot Rally” sprayed mace at another man after a verbal altercation, who in return, shot him with his handgun.
In a press conference, Division Chief Joe Montoya said that two guns and a can of mace were found at the scene.
A man holds his gun pointed after fatally shooting another man during dueling protests in Denver, Colorado, on October 10, 2020.
Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Police could not confirm the affiliations of either the shooter or the victims but said the incident started as a verbal altercation.
“We’re hopeful that as soon as possible we can get the factual information out as to what led to this — who the individuals involved were,” Montoya said, according to the Denver Post. “We’re hopeful that that information will help kind of calm the waters a little bit.”
Police later tweeted the security guard had no affiliation with Antifa, according to the Post.
Before the shooting, the protests had been mostly peaceful and consisted largely of each group yelling at each other from across an amphitheater, which separated the two rallies.
The right-wing protesters were chanting patriotic songs and held up banners, while the left-wing “BLM-Antifa Soup Drive” waved flags and signs condemning Nazis and white supremacists.
Authorities have not yet identified the victim or the suspected shooter.