BY: Meredith Deliso, ABC News
(DENVER) — One man was killed and a male suspect is in custody following a shooting at a protest in Denver Saturday, authorities said.
The shooting occurred in the courtyard near the Denver Art Museum, officials said. Police initially said one victim was transported to the hospital and their condition was unknown. Denver police later said they were investigating the incident as a homicide.
The shooting occurred at 3:37 p.m. local time, police said. The shooting followed a “verbal altercation,” Division Chief Joe Montoya said at a press briefing Saturday evening. Two guns and a can of mace were recovered at the scene, he said.
The victim was pronounced dead at the hospital, police said.
The Denver Police Department later tweeted that the suspect is a private security guard and has “no affiliation with Antifa.”
KUSA, the NBC affiliate in Denver, said the security guard was working for them at the time of the shooting. A producer for the station was also taken into custody, KUSA said, but later released and was not involved in the shooting.
“A private security guard who was hired by 9NEWS is the suspect detained by DPD,” the station said in a statement. “It has been the practice of 9NEWS for a number of months to hire private security to accompany staff at protests.”
Montoya had said a second person who was initially taken into custody after the shooting was found to not be involved.
Two competing protests were scheduled Saturday afternoon at Denver’s Civic Center Park, where the museum is located. One event, called “BLM-Antifa Soup Drive,” was hosted by the Denver Communists and other groups, according to a Facebook event page. The other, dubbed a “Patriot Muster” rally, called on patriots to “stand up” and “show up” in promotional materials.
Montoya had said it was unclear whether either person, the victim or suspect, was involved in the protests.
The protests drew a large police presence to the area Saturday.
“There was a large presence because we had two groups with opposing views, and we know that can always get very tense, and there’s always potential for violence,” Montoya said.
ABC News’ Matthew Fuhrman and Jeff Cook contributed to this report.
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