Oct. 11 (UPI) — One person died during a shooting near dueling protests in downtown Denver, and a private security guard hired by a television station was later taken into custody, police said.
The shooting occurred at 3:37 p.m. Mountain time after a planned protest in support of police bill as a “Patriot Rally” against a counterprotest led by the left-wing group, which organizers called “BLM-Antifa Soup Drive,” according to The Denver Post.
A verbal altercation occurred with two guns and a can of Mace recovered at the scene, Police Public Information Officer Ana Munoz told CNN.
Denver posted on Twitter the shooting is being investigated as a homicide and later tweeted “further investigation has determined the suspect is a private security guard with no affiliation with Antifa.”
KUSA-TV reported that the suspect detained by police is a private security guard hired by the station.
“The private security guard was contracted through Pinkerton by 9NEWS,” the station said in a report. “It has been the practice of 9NEWS for a number of months to hire private security to accompany staff at protests. DPD originally took two people into custody, and later found the second individual, a 9NEWS producer who works in the investigative unit, was not involved in the incident. The producer is no longer in police custody and is not a suspect.”
A Denver Post journalist who witnessed the incident said a man participating in what was billed a “Patriot Rally” sprayed mace at another man. That man then shot the other individual with a handgun near the courtyard outside the Denver Art Museum.
The unidentified victim was transported to a hospital and later pronounced dead, Investigations Division Chief Joe Montoya said during a news conference Saturday.
“Political differences should be resolved at the ballot box and not in the streets, and we will keep it that way through this election season and beyond,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock wrote on Twitter. “And with the pandemic, we encourage people to not gather in large groups, and stay safe at home.