Military veteran Lee Keltner was shot dead in front of his son at Antifa rally, family reveals10/11/2020
THE man shot dead at an Antifa rally in Denver has been identified as military veteran and grandad Lee Keltner.
“Patriot” Keltner was shot and killed after he maced a private security guard working for a local news station on Saturday as right-wing and Antifa demonstrators clashed at dueling rallies in Denver, his family revealed in a series of Facebook posts.
The veteran is believed to have been taking part in the "Patriot Muster" rally, and was fatally shot at around 3.30pm outside the Denver Art Museum in Colorado.
Carol Keltner, who identified herself as Lee's mother, shared the update in a Facebook group called Northeast Arkansas Tea Party Group.
"My son Lee was at the patriot rally today in Denver," she wrote.
"After the rally a person on the BLM and Antifa side went up to him said a few nasty words then shot him in the head. He was murdered because he backed the police," she continued.
"His 24 year old son was with him," she added. "I moved to Arkansas because Colorado got too expensive and liberal. The left has gotten out of hand."
Jay Keltner, who identified himself as the victim's son, also posted to Facebook about his father.
"I can't believe my dad's gone," he wrote. "This will never be right #RIP."
Lee was described in other social media tributes as a “loving husband, father and friend” who would help those in need.
Friend Laura Sanders wrote on Twitter: “Lee was a loving husband, father & friend. He was a minister & helped those in need. He has family & friends who are grieving.”
She wrote in another message: “Lee u always had a great sense of humor & always helped those you could. U were one of the good guys! This world is a sadder place without u my friend! Thanks 4 all the great memories & fun times! Praying 4 your family! U were an amazing friend, husband and dad! Love ya buddy!”
Laura added: “I will miss you forever my dear friend! Your life taken by a coward! You were an amazing husband, father and friend! I will miss our conversations and your laugh and smiling face! Rest In Peace Lee! Much love.”
Keltner ran his business Crossfire Hats in Brighton as a specialised hat maker.
He told the Denver Post in 2015: “Everything I do is custom. I do one hat at a time, I do it right for that customer, and then I move on to the next one.”
Lee, talking about his business in a 2012 video said he was "keeping the West alive, one hat at a time."
He said: "The cowboy hat is the history of the West" and added in Colorado the cattleman style was the most popular.
"I love being an artist," Lee said. "Creating new and different things because I do all the work myself and I do it one at a time. It's truly special for that customer."
After Keltner is said to have used the mace, the security guard reportedly pulled out a handgun and shot him at point blank range.
He was taken to the hospital, where he died an hour later, Denver Police Investigations Division Chief Joe Montoya said.
Cops are investigating the shooting as a homicide and are reviewing cellphone footage taken by various attendees.
Detectives determined that a "verbal altercation" happened near the museum just before the shooting, Montoya said.
DPD confirmed that the security guard wasn't affiliated with the counter-protesting Black Lives Matter-Antifa group.
It was later reported by 9NEWS that he was a contractor the news station hired through Pinkerton.
"A 9NEWS employee and a 9NEWS contractor were taken into custody," the station said, noting that the second of the two people wasn't connected to the shooting.
The producer has since been released from police custody, but the 9NEWS contractor is the suspect detained by DPD.
For several months, 9NEWS has hired private security guards to accompany staff at protests, the news station said.
Video shared on Twitter by prominent pro-Trump conservative Ian Miles Cheong claims to show the verbal altercation that led up to the shooting.
A man wearing a "Black Guns Matter" shirt urges a tattooed man wearing a camouflage bucket hat to mace him.
"Mace me, f**kin' mace me brother!" the man yells. "Walk u0p to me and f***ing mace me n****, mace me mother f****r!"
A woman can be heard in the background asking the man why he's using a racial slur as he continues to shout at the counter-protester.
The bucket hat man clutches what appears to be a can of mace as the two continue to exchange obscenities.
"F**k around and find out!" the man with the Black Guns Matter shirt screams before turning his attention to another man holding a baton.
Moments later, the victim is seen dropping to the floor behind the arguing men after the hiss of an aerosol can and a loud bang.
Two guns were recovered at the scene, and the suspect in custody is being held at police headquarters, DPD said.
A canister of Mace was also recovered at the scene, and detectives are still probing whether it was used in the attack, the police chief said.
Denver Police said later in the evening that the suspect is a private security guard who isn't affiliated with Antifa.
Dozens of people gathered in downtown Denver for a "Patriot Muster" rally for a far-right militia group and a "BLM-Antifa Soup Drive" hosted by Denver Communists, Denver-Boulder Socialist Revolution and other groups, according to the event Facebook page.
The security guard still had his handgun in his clutches, and as cops swarmed him with their guns pointed, he dropped to his knees, raised his hands above his head and released his weapon.
He was arrested at the scene along with the second person who was later believed to have no connection to the shooting.
Local businesses were warned of the potential for escalating violence early Saturday and were told to report seeing protesters wearing helmets, shields, or gas masks ahead of the rallies, KMGH reported.
Earlier this summer, Black Lives Matter and Back the Blue supporters violently clashed at the Greek Amphitheater in Civic Central Park.
Several people were seen fist fighting, and one Blue Lives Matter supporter reported being cracked on the head with a skateboard.
The clash came nearly two months after the death of George Floyd, which prompted violent clashes between protesters and police across the United States.
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