Denver Republican Party Chairwoman Kristina Cook was criticized on social media this week after her reference to guns when discussing the Rev. Martin Luther King's assassination.
"I bet Dr. King wishes he'd had a sniper on his side that day," her post said.
Cook first commented on a social media thread that has since been deleted, she wrote in a subsequent statement on Facebook. She said it was then photo-shopped below a photo of her holding a rifle.
"This action was taken in an effort to misrepresent the intent of my comment," Cook wrote. "I wish the thread was still available for people to judge for themselves."
The allegedly altered image drew the attention of the slain civil rights leader's daughter, Bernice King, who took to Twitter to remind followers of her father's anti-violence stance.
"Listen to his speech, ‘I’ve Been To The Mountaintop,’ delivered the evening before he was assassinated," she wrote. "My father knew his time on earth was short. He stood by his nonviolent philosophy. He would not have wanted a gun battle on his behalf. Don’t use him for this."
Cook said she reached out to King and now understands the civil rights leader's perspective.
"We could use Dr. Martin Luther King’s presence in this divided world," Cook wrote in the statement. "Doctored memes like the one being circulated of me only serve to increase the division, when in a case like this both sides share the same ultimate respect for Dr. King. The Denver County Republican Party will continue to reach a hand over that divide in the hopes that we can join others looking to find unity, peace and healing for our community."