A private security guard was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder after being hired to protect a news crew during a pair of opposing rallies in downtown Denver on Saturday.
The shooting: Matthew Dolloff, 30, was working for a Denver NBC affiliate when he apparently fatally shot Lee Keltner, 49, who was participating in a pro-police and pro-Trump “patriot muster” outside the Denver Art Museum.
- A Black Lives Matter and anti-fascist “soup rally” was held nearby.
- During a 10-second escalation that took place in broad daylight and was documented in photos and videos, Keltner apparently slapped and pepper-sprayed Dolloff, who then drew a gun from his waistband and fired.
KUSA-TV, the NBC affiliate, said Dolloff was contracted through a security firm called Pinkerton in keeping with the station’s practice in covering months of racial justice protests.
- But Dolloff was not licensed to work as a guard in the city, officials said on Sunday.
Contrary to some claims online, Dolloff was not known to be an antifa activist, according to police; but he reportedly expressed bellicose left-wing views on social media, including cursing Trump and law enforcement.
The aftermath: Dolloff was taken into custody by the Denver Police Department on suspicion of first-degree murder, though he has not been formally charged.
- A 9News producer was also arrested but released when police determined he was not involved in the shooting.
- Keltner was taken to the hospital where he died, Joe Montoya, Denver Police chief of investigations, said at a news conference on Saturday.
- According to Montoya, two guns were found at the scene, as well as a pepper spray can.
- “There was a verbal altercation that transpired. A firearm was discharged,” he said. “An individual was shot and later pronounced deceased.”
“American patriot”: Keltner was identified by his family as a U.S. Navy veteran who owned a local custom hat business.
- His mother, Carol Keltner, said in a Facebook post on Sunday that he was shot in the head in front of his 24-year-old son, Johnathan Keltner.
- One of the organizers of the “Patriot Rally,” John Tiegen, said on Instagram on Sunday that he was “deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of a fellow American patriot.”
A decision on any charges will be up to the Denver District Attorney’s Office, police said.