DENVER (AP) — A private security guard working for a Denver TV station was behind bars Monday and accused in the deadly shooting of a man during dueling right- and left-wing weekend protests, police said.
Matthew Dolloff, 30, was booked into jail for investigation of first-degree murder following the clash Saturday afternoon near the city’s Civic Center Park. He appeared in court on Sunday to be advised of the charges he could face and no bond was allowed, according to jail records.
Authorities have not identified the man who was killed, but his son told the Denver Post it was his father, Lee Keltner, a 49-year-old U.S. Navy veteran who operated a hat-making business in the Denver area.
“He wasn’t a part of any group,” Johnathon Keltner said of his father. “He was there to rally for the police department and he’d been down there before rallying for the police department.”
A man — appearing to be Keltner — participating in what was billed a “Patriot Rally” slapped and sprayed Mace at a man who appeared to be Dolloff, the Post reported, based on its photographs from the scene.
The right-wing “Patriot Rally” was one of two demonstrations happening at about the same time that drew hundreds of people to the park. Protesters at a left-wing “BLM-Antifa Soup Drive” nearby held up flags and signs railing against Nazis and white supremacists.
The man identified by the newspaper as Dolloff drew a gun from his waistband and shot the other person, according to the Denver Post journalist who witnessed the event.
Carol Keltner, who said she was the victim’s mother, wrote in a social media post that her son was shot in the head.
A decision on any charges will be up to the Denver District Attorney’s Office, police said. A spokesperson for District Attorney Beth McCann said Sunday that the arrest affidavit in the case was sealed and referred further questions about the case to the police.
Jail records did not list a lawyer who could comment on Dolloff’s behalf.
Two guns and a Mace can were found at the crime scene, Police Division Chief Joe Montoya said.
The shooting happened near a city surveillance camera and police said they recovered footage what unfolded, KUSA-TV reported.
KUSA said it had hired the guard through the Pinkerton security company.
“It has been the practice of 9NEWS for a number of months to hire private security to accompany staff at protests,” the television station said.
In a statement published by KUSA-TV, Pinkerton described Dolloff as a contractor.
“We are in the process of still gathering information to better understand the incident that occurred in Denver on October 10 involving a contractor agent,” the company said. “The agent in question is not a Pinkerton employee. Pinkerton is fully cooperating with law enforcement authorities in their investigation of this matter.”
Security guards in Denver are supposed to be licensed, with additional endorsements needed to carry a firearm or operate in plainclothes, according to rules for the industry adopted by the city in 2018.
In photos from Saturday’s shooting, Dolloff did not appear to be wearing a uniform. His name does not appear on a city database that lists several thousand licensed security guards.
The story has been corrected to say that the shooting happened near Civic Center Park, not in it.