DENVER (KDVR) — A 9NEWS contracted security guard, Matthew Dolloff, is the suspect shooter in a deadly incident that happened after a dueling rally event, killing 49-year-old Lee Keltner on Saturday.
The victim: Lee Keltner
Friends of Keltner describe him as a family man with a wife, children and grandchildren. Extremist, politically-charged or rally-goer were not descriptors of the hat maker businessman.
“He was a man of integrity and was an honest person. I never talked politics with him, that never came up,” Steve Weil, an old friend of Keltner, said.
“I was shocked,” Weil said, describing the moment he got the phone call from a friend informing him of Keltner’s death. “It’s a sad thing when someone you know is gunned down in downtown Denver.”
Keltner’s identity was not immediately released but friends and family reacted on social media when they found out. His wife posted, “heart is broken. The police have reached out to me. Right now I can’t say a lot.”
FOX31 spoke to a friend, who asked not to be named, to get his reaction. “We will miss our friend, very much so,” he said. “He was the guy that would give you the shirt off his back. Not just somebody who was killed in a protest.”
The man who organized the ‘Patriot Muster’ rally that Keltner was attending, told national news ‘he was pro-American’ when asked about Keltner.
“It was a patriot muster. He was pro-American. This wasn’t a Back the Blue rally. It wasn’t a pro-Trump rally. To me, it was just a patriotic muster,” John Tiegen told Fox News. “He was an American patriot, a veteran, so he came out to support the cause. Because we’re tired of the left trying to side us, keeping us quiet through intimidation.”
The suspect: Matthew Dolloff
The 30-year-old was at the rally working as a private security guard for 9NEWS, as is standard procedure for the station personnel to have protection at these types of events.
9NEWS said Dolloff was contracted through a company called Pinkerton. FOX31 has been informed by Pinkerton that Dolloff was a contractor from a “long standing industry vendor.”
Dolloff used to help on a farm in Elizabeth and one neighbor recollects watching him target shooting at his target range. “They used every kind of gun. They used pistols and AR-15s, rifles, and just shot at targets,” he said.
Dolloff had been issued a conceal carry permit by the Elbert County Sheriff in June 2018. That permit is good for five years, but has been suspended pending the outcome of this criminal investigation.
While one man says he witnessed a murder right in front of him, an attorney for the Dolloff family says he felt threatened.
“He had a can of pepper spray in his hand, and he started to blow a stream towards his right, and I looked to the right and there’s a guy pointing a gun straight at him like that. Right then the gun went off and the man fell, and he died before he hit the ground right before my eyes,” witness Daniel Mannix said.
“A man with a life, with a grandson, with a business, with a family, just died. Was murdered before my eyes. Was executed.”
Representing Dolloff’s family, attorney Doug Richards said, “Matt saw what he believed to be the deceased reach into his shirt,” he said. “If you look at the photos, Matt was holding nothing when he saw the deceased reach into his shirt.”
FOX31 asked a local attorney what constitutes self-defense and if Dolloff would be able to claim the reason.
“There are no clear and absolute bright lines with the doctrine of self-defense,” criminal defense attorney Christopher Decker said. “There are a lot of nuances to the law of self-defense.”
Denver is one of three cities in the state of Colorado to require licensing of private security guards. The qualifications in the City of Denver are 16 hours of required training and additional approvals if a security guard wants to obtain ‘armed status.’
Problem Solvers learned that Dolloff was being held in isolation away from other inmates for his own protection and without bond for investigative hold on a count of first-degree murder.