Police Identify Guard Suspected in Fatal Shooting During Denver ‘Patriot Rally’

October 11, 2020 Updated: October 11, 2020

The hired security guard accused of shooting a protester dead during a Denver rally on Oct. 10 was identified by police as Matthew Robert Dolloff.

Dolloff, 30, is being held in connection to a first-degree murder investigation of the shooting, the Denver Police Department announced on Oct. 11. Family members said the victim was Lee Keltner, a military veteran.

Officials said Dolloff hasn’t yet been charged. He is being questioned about the shooting, which was captured on camera. The shooting happened at a pro-President Donald Trump rally that was disrupted by people with Black Lives Matter and Antifa, who had planned a counter-demonstration.

According to jail records, Dolloff was booked on the night of Oct. 10 on suspicion of first-degree murder.

Dolloff was hired by NBC News affiliate 9NEWS to provide security during the demonstrations. He was hired via Pinkerton, a company that offers private security services.

“It has been the practice of 9NEWS for a number of months to contract private security to accompany staff at protests,” said 9NEWS in its report.

Pinkerton and the NBC affiliate didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The Denver Police Department said on Saturday that Dolloff was a private security guard. Police said he had “no affiliation with Antifa.” But in a statement on Sunday, police backed away from that declaration.

“Further investigation has revealed that, at the time of the shooting, the suspect was acting in a professional capacity as an armed security guard for a local media outlet and not a protest participant. Immediately following the incident, rumors were circulating regarding the suspect’s affiliation with a particular group. Investigators are unaware of whether the suspect is personally affiliated with any political organization,” the department stated.

On Oct. 11, Dolloff appeared briefly at a virtual court hearing. He uttered few statements, according to Denverite, a local news website. Dolloff is being held without bond.

Social media accounts that appear to be connected to Dolloff show that he participated in Occupy protests in Denver and supported the Black Lives Matter movement. Those accounts frequently shared posts from left-wing media outlets such as The Young Turks, and criticized Trump—whom he called a fascist—and also indicated support for self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a former Democratic presidential candidate.

The shooting took place on Oct. 10 around 3:30 p.m. near the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Public Library, police official Joe Montoya told reporters. A verbal altercation took place just before the shooting, he said.

Witnesses said the shooting victim was part of the conservative “Patriot Rally” group. The victim was identified by family members as Lee Keltner.

Photographs that captured the incident showed a man deploying pepper spray or a similar chemical as the suspect pointed a gun at him. Moments later, the man was on the ground, shot, while police in riot gear ran over and arrested the shooter.

One video showing the minute before the shooting showed a man wearing a “Black Guns Matter” T-shirt shouting at a group of men who appeared to be with the conservative group, including the man who was eventually shot. The man with the “Black Guns Matter” shirt is enraged, shouting at the group. He tells one to mace him. The shooting victim moves out of the view of the camera. Moments later, a gunshot is heard.

The Denver Sheriff Department directed inquiries to the police, which didn’t immediately return requests for more information.

After the shooting, Denver police released a statement saying that it “respects the right to peacefully assemble. Those who participate in protests, demonstrations, marches, or other gatherings, as protected by the First Amendment, are reminded to do so in a lawful manner. Individuals who choose to act outside of local, state and federal law, will be subject to citation or arrest.”

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