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Guard in custody after man dies in shooting in Denver protests

Police say a private security guard hired to protect a local television news station during demonstrations is in custody in connection with the alleged fatal shooting of a protester in Denver Saturday.

Local news station 9News confirmed that they had contracted the suspected gunman through the Pinkerton agency, saying 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 station added. “The producer is no longer in police custody and is not a suspect."

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Denver Police confirmed the suspect was a security guard and denied rumors spread through social media that the alleged shooter was an Antifa activist. Investigations Division Chief Joe Montoya said the victim was pronounced dead on the scene.

The suspect shot a man participating in a Denver-area “Patriot Rally” after the man sprayed him with mace, the Denver Post reported, citing an account from a Post reporter who witnessed the incident.

Left-wing activists counter protested the gathering in Denver’s Civic Center Park while right-wing demonstrators gathered in the park’s amphitheater a few hundred feet away. Police later fired pepper balls at the leftist demonstrators to push them back from a barrier separating the demonstrations, according to the newspaper.

The Pinkerton's detective agency, founded in the 19th century, were frequently hired as personal bodyguards and to break labor strikes over the next several decades before they were largely replaced by the FBI and police forces. The company, now owned by Swedish security firm Securitas AB, continues to offer private security services.