US News

Guard to Face Murder Charge in Shooting at Denver Rally, D.A. Says

A security guard for a Denver television news station who was arrested in the fatal shooting of a man after a right-wing rally last weekend will be charged with second-degree murder, the local prosecutor announced on Thursday.

If convicted, the guard, Matthew Dolloff, 30, faces up to 48 years in prison. The charges will be filed on Monday in Denver District Court, the Denver District Attorney’s Office said.

The shooting, captured in videos and photographs that circulated widely in news reports and on social media, occurred at the conclusion of a “patriot muster” rally on Saturday. As people left the rally, they encountered left-wing counterprotesters south of Civic Center Park, near the Denver Art Museum.

Credit…Denver Police Department, via Associated Press

According to an arrest warrant, the fatal encounter began around 3:30 p.m. when the victim, Lee John Keltner, 49, was arguing with another man near the park.

Mr. Keltner abruptly broke off that argument and confronted Mr. Dolloff. Moments later, Mr. Keltner struck Mr. Dolloff on the side of the head with his hand. Mr. Dolloff drew a gun from his waistband, aimed and fired a single shot as Mr. Keltner discharged a Mace-like substance, the police said.

Mr. Keltner collapsed to the ground and the police arrested Mr. Dolloff, “who was still holding a semiautomatic handgun,” according to the arrest warrant. Photographs from the scene show Mr. Dolloff laying the weapon on the ground and putting his hands in the air as the police moved toward him.

Mr. Keltner was taken to Denver Health Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 4:05 p.m., the police said. On Monday, the medical examiner ruled Mr. Keltner’s death a homicide, according to the district attorney’s office.

On the afternoon of the protest, a Denver news channel, 9News, identified the man detained in the shooting as “a private security guard who was hired by 9News.” The station added, “It has been the practice of 9News for a number of months to hire private security to protect staff at protests.”

The news channel reported that it had contracted for Mr. Dolloff’s services through Pinkerton, a private security guard agency. That company told the station it did not employ Mr. Dolloff and declined to name the company that did.

Doug Richards, a lawyer for Mr. Dolloff, did not immediately respond Thursday night to telephone and email requests for comment, but he told The Denver Post that his client “was doing everything he was supposed to do and everything he was trained to do.”

He also said it did not matter whether his client had the proper permit to do this type of security work before the shooting.

“Even if he didn’t carry the special Denver security license, it didn’t stop Pinkerton from sending Matt into that job and it doesn’t change the fact that Matt was acting in self-defense,” Mr. Richards told the news organization.


Back to top button