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Pinkerton, Denver TV station could be charged after unlicensed contractor shot dead Navy vet at rally

The shooting occurred during demonstrations of 'Patriot Muster' and a 'BLM-Antifa Soup Drive' counterprotest near Civic Center Park in Denver
Matthew Dolloff (Denver Police Department)
Matthew Dolloff (Denver Police Department)

A private security company and a Colorado television station, which hired an unlicensed security guard, could face criminal charges after the guard shot dead a Navy veteran on Saturday afternoon, October 10, while protecting a TV crew. The guard, identified as 30-year-old Matthew Dolloff, is currently being held in prison for investigation of first-degree murder of 49-year-old Lee Keltner. The shooting occurred during demonstrations of 'Patriot Muster' and a 'BLM-Antifa Soup Drive' counterprotest near Civic Center Park in Denver. Dolloff was hired by security company Pinkerton and contracted by 9News to provide protection to its television crew, which was covering the protests in the region. The guard has claimed that Keltner reached inside his shirt, which scared him and prompted him to fire his weapon. Pictures of the incident showed Keltner spraying Dolloff with mace and then being shot dead by the guard.

The Denver City Attorney's Office, on Monday, October 12, told CBS4: "Licensed security guard employers that hire unlicensed security guards could face disciplinary actions against their licenses ranging from a fine, to suspension, to revocation. Businesses could also face criminal charges for permitting or directing an unlicensed person to perform security services. Regarding Matthew Dolloff, there could be civil or criminal actions taken, or both, against Mr Dolloff, Pinkerton, 9News, and/or any other entity that hired and deployed Dolloff in an unlicensed security guard capacity."

KUSA-TV, the television station which broadcasts 9News, said that it has a practice of hiring private security to accompany its staff at protests for the past few months. The station said they had hired Dolloff through Pinkerton. The security company, however, in a statement, said that Dolloff was a contract agent and not an employee of the company. The firm did not reveal the name of the contract company the security guard worked for. "Pinkerton is fully cooperating with law enforcement authorities in their investigation of this matter," the statement added.

Meanwhile, Dolloff's lawyer, Doug Richards, on Monday, insisted that his client acted in self-defense. Richards said that the man who was shot reached into his shirt, which made his client fear for his safety, leading him to shoot. The lawyer added that according to the images of the scene from The Denver Post, Dolloff put himself between Keltner and the reporter from 9News he was working to protect. "He was doing what he was supposed to be doing there," the lawyer added.

A Denver Police Department spokesperson, Jay Casillas, said that officials have found two guns and a mace from the crime scene, however, no more details on what occurred has been released. It is not yet clear who the guns belong to. Reports state that the documents detailing the reason for Dolloff's arrest continue to remain sealed. 

Although authorities have not yet revealed the identity of the man shot dead, his son, while speaking to The Denver Post, revealed that it was his father Lee Keltner, a US Navy veteran, who operated a hat-making business in Denver. Authorities have said that Dolloff did not have a license to work as a security guard in the city and that they are currently probing how he was permitted to work despite that. According to local government rules, both security companies and guards they employ must have city licenses, reports state. Guards are also required to undergo 16 hours of training and an FBI background check to get a licence, a spokesman for the city's Excise and Licenses Department, Eric Escudero, said.