Things turned deadly in downtown Denver yesterday when a Patriot Rally held by supporters of the police and the President ran into a Black Lives Matter and Antifa group who declared they were there to “drown out the hate.” The Denver PD managed to keep things mostly under control until the activities were coming to an end, but then gunshots were heard. One of the Patriot Rally supporters was dead and the suspect was under arrest. Who the shooter was and whether they were affiliated with either group was initially in dispute. But the initial investigation by the police seems to indicate that he wasn’t a member of either group. (WaPo)
A private security guard is in custody after a fatal shooting amid dueling demonstrations in downtown Denver, police said Saturday, in the latest deadly violence to unfold at the scene of tense protests.
Right-wing demonstrators had gathered at the city’s civic center for a “Patriot Rally,” as did left-wing activists affiliating themselves with Black Lives Matter and antifa, who said they wanted to “drown out their hate.” Police said Saturday that the suspect is not affiliated with antifa, as some claimed online; local television station 9NEWS identified the person as a guard it hired to accompany an employee covering the events.
The Denver Post reported that the shooting victim was a participant of the “Patriot Rally” who sprayed mace at another man who then opened fire with a weapon. A Denver Post photo captures a man spraying a substance at a masked person with a gun, identified by the newspaper as the shooter.
Neither the shooter nor the victim was identified by authorities who are still investigating. But the guy with the gun was allegedly a private security guard from Pinkerton hired by a local television station to protect their reporters who were covering the demonstrations. He didn’t go out of his way to look like a security detail member, however, since he appeared to be dressed in cargo pants and a t-shirt. We know this because of the remarkable picture captured by an Associated Press photographer that appears to show the conflict barely a second before the fatal shots were fired.
The Patriot Rally participant can be seen unloading a can of mace in the direction of the shooter who has his handgun leveled at him. Whatever media people the security guard was allegedly protecting are not shown in the image. It’s unclear who the rally participant was attempting to mace at the moment and we don’t know why they came into conflict to begin with. Video has already emerged however that shows the victim engaged in a dispute with a very loud and aggressive BLM supporter only moments before the shooting. If you watch the following clip (language and violence warning) you will see the Trump supporter walk away from the confrontation and out of frame. Only nine seconds later you hear the gunshot and then see him fall to the ground. So there clearly wasn’t much time for the situation to escalate to the point where mace and bullets would be expected.
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The video clearly shows there was obvious tension between the groups. What it unfortunately doesn’t reveal is what happened between the security guard and the shooting victim.
There’s an alternate theory going around on Twitter claiming that the shooter is a known leftist and Antifa supporter, suggesting that the police are lying about what he was doing at the rally. (Click through to read the thread.) Frankly, that seems to be a huge stretch since the cops could easily be debunked if the tv station denied hiring him. Also, the ideas of the shooter being a leftist Antifa-supporter and also a part-time security guard are not mutually incompatible. Both could be true.
Perhaps one of the chief takeaways from this incident is the fact that the news station felt that the situation was so dangerous that they needed to hire armed security for their reporters. They didn’t hire a very good one because gunfire shouldn’t be your first response to a non-lethal attack involving mace, yet here we are. But who did the news station think they needed protection from?
That part should be fairly obvious. Wherever we’ve seen conservatives rallying to support the police or law and order, the situation never devolves into a riot, destruction or physical attacks if they were the only people demonstrating in the area. By contrast, violence seems to break out wherever Antifa goes and that pattern has increasingly shown up in BLM rallies as the two groups seem to have merged together in many cases. That was made obvious in Denver by the fact that the “counterprotesters” blatantly stated that they were only coming to try to shut down or shout down the Patriot Rally. The Denver media has no doubt been covering these activities long enough to realize that violence was a possibility, if not a probability.
But the specific incident involving the shooting is far less clear. We would need to know why the rally participant was breaking out the mace and what led up to that decision. But the security guard’s actions are already being described as a homicide by the Denver PD. Hopefully we’ll have more answers as the investigation moves forward.
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