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Shooting at competing rallies leaves 1 dead

Shooting at competing rallies leaves 1 dead
© Getty Images

A shooting at dueling demonstrations in downtown Denver, Colo., killed one person Saturday, but police say it does not appear that the shooter was fueled by any political ideology.

The Denver Police Department confirmed the fatality to The Hill; the death occurred after a person was shot near the Denver Art Museum Saturday afternoon.

The shooting took place amid rival rallies, one dubbed a right-wing “Patriot Rally” and the other a “BLM-Antifa Soup Drive” meant to counter the first gathering.

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The agency later said that a suspect is in custody over the shooting and noted that the person is a “private security guard with no affiliation with Antifa.”

The department plans to release more details over the incident Sunday or Monday and said the shooting is being investigated as a homicide.

Denver Police earlier this week said it would let people demonstrate but warned protesters they could be arrested if they were to “act outside” the law.

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“The Denver Police Department respects the right to peacefully assemble. Those who participate in protests, demonstrations, marches, or other gatherings, as protected by the First Amendment, are reminded to do so in a lawful manner. Individuals who choose to act outside of local, state and federal law, will be subject to citation or arrest,” the department said Friday. 

The day before the protest, an organizer of the Patriot Rally told a local outlet he is “not going in there to do violence, but I'm going to be prepared to do violence.”

The Denver Communists, a group that helped organize the counter-protest, indicated it planned to show up earlier this week.

“Rightwing vigilante violence against anti-racist protesters has become commonplace. Especially since, both locally and nationally, the cops and courts have mostly given these terrorists a green light. But we are undeterred! We feel it is our responsibility to vocally oppose fascists every time the try to assemble. And we hope you feel the same way! And what are our options? To cede our streets to them? That’s how you get Hitlers,” the group posted on its Facebook page. 

The dueling protests come amid a time of heightened tension in the country, with far-right protesters and Black Lives Matter activists clashing across the country amid a reckoning over systemic racism and police brutality.

Tensions reached a boiling point in August when a teenager, Kyle Rittenhouse, shot and killed two demonstrators in Kenosha, Wis., after protests erupted over the police shooting of a 29-year-old Black man, Jacob Blake. 

Days later, a member of a right-wing group in Portland, Ore., was shot and killed.