According to the Denver Post, the misfortune event happened on Saturday afternoon in Civic Center Park when a man participating in the so-called “Patriot Rally” sprayed mace at another man. Division chief of investigations for the Denver Police Department, Joe Montoya, said at a press conference on Saturday that a verbal argument had taken place before the shooting.
The rallies were a part of the continuous anti-racist and far-right demonstrations that have been going on in recent months in the country. When the far-right activists planned the “Patriot Rally” for Saturday afternoon, as a counter move, a “BLM-Antifa soup drive” was organized by the left-leaning activists.
The Patriot rally protestors had gathered in the park’s amphitheater where they chanted patriotic songs on occasions and lifted banners. On the other hand, the left-wing protestors got together in the middle of the park, several hundred feet away from the protected amphitheater. They hoisted flags and signs degrading the Nazis and white supremacists.
The injured man was transferred immediately to the nearby hospital where he died an hour later. As the confusion about the shooter rose, rumors spread around about the shooter belonging to Antifa. However, the Denver Police Department clearly said that the rumors were false.
The Denver Police Dept. further confirmed on Sunday morning that, “Further investigation has determined the suspect is a private security guard with no affiliation with Antifa. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.”
Montoya also said that the police have been trying to keep “two groups with opposing views” away. He added that two guns and a can of mace were also found at the scene.
“We don’t want any erroneous information going out, any speculation,” Montoya said. “That’s what gets everybody angry and motivated to commit more violence, and that’s what we’re trying to prevent.”
According to local TV station 9 News, the shooter was a Pinkerton contractor appointed by the station for giving security to its journalists. According to the station, the journalists were being sometimes targeted by law enforcement. To deal with this situation, it had decided to hire private security for personnel covering protests.
Moments before the shooting and the shooting itself have been captured by Denver Post photographs with a video posted on Twitter. It can be seen in the video that a man in a shirt that said, “Black Guns Matter” argued with a group of men. A member from the group, wearing a vest and an American flag mask, moves out of the picture. Moments later, a shot can be heard, and then the man can be seen falling to the ground. The man in the vest is seen spraying mace at another man who was holding a gun.
Police rushed to the scene and ordered the man to drop his gun. Later, he was identified as a security guard. KUSA, Denver TV station, announced that Matthew Doloff, 30, was a contractor for them.
Doloff had his first hearing on Sunday morning where the judge declared that the arrest affidavit would be sealed, and the defendant will be held on first degree murder charges without bond.