A person was shot and killed amid rallies between groups with opposing political views on Saturday in Denver, Colorado. The exact circumstances of the shooting remain unclear, but Denver police indicated Saturday evening that the shooter was a local on-duty security guard.
The rallies were part of the ongoing antiracist and far-right demonstrations that have occurred throughout the country in recent months. After far-right activists organized a “Patriot Rally” for Saturday afternoon, left-leaning activists organized a counterprotest called a “BLM-Antifa soup drive,” an ironic nod to the accusation that antifa groups throw cans of soup at political enemies.
Early reports suggest that the shooting victim, who has not yet been identified, was attending the Patriot Rally. He was transported to a local hospital where he later died, Joe Montoya, chief of the police department’s investigations division, said at a news conference Saturday evening. Both the shooter and victim were white men, according to Montoya.
The shooter, according to local TV station 9News, was a Pinkerton contractor hired by the station to provide private security to its journalists as they reported on the protests. The station said it has been hiring private security for station personnel covering protests since mid-summer, during which journalists were sometimes targeted by law enforcement.
The shooting — and the moments leading up to it — appear to have been captured by Denver Post photographs and a video posted to Twitter.
The video shows a man in a “Black Guns Matter” shirt arguing with a group of men. A member of that group, wearing a vest and an American flag mask, moves out of the frame. A shot can be heard moments later, and the video then shows the man falling to the ground. The Post photographs show an altercation, as well the man in the American flag mask spraying mace at another man who is holding a gun.
Amid the confusion following the shooting, a number of unsubstantiated rumors, boosted by a small group of far-right social media influencers, spread that the shooter was a member of antifa. The Denver Police Department, however, has made clear that these rumors are false, and that the shooter has no affiliation with antifa.
The shooting follows violence at a right-wing rally in Portland, Oregon, that left one man dead in August. The shooter in that incident, was an antifa supporter, and was shot and killed by federal law enforcement officials.
The story is still developing. Here is what we know — and don’t — so far.
What we know
- The shooting happened at 3:37 pm MT near the Denver Art Museum
- It came following competing rallies: a far-right “Patriot Rally,” and a “BLM-Antifa soup drive” counterprotest
- NBC affiliate 9News says the shooter was a private security guard hired to protect its staff
- The victim was taken to a local hospital, where he died
- The Denver Police Department has the shooter in custody
- Charges have not yet been filed in the incident
What we don’t know
- The identity of the shooter
- The identity of the victim
- What prompted the altercation that led to the shooting
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