The security guard agency that was said to have contracted a private guard who fatally shot someone in Denver over the weekend issued a statement for the first time, saying the guard was not in its employ.
“We take loss of life in any situation very seriously and are our hearts go out to those impacted by this situation. As it relates to the incident in Denver on October 10, the agent in question is not a Pinkerton employee but rather a contractor agent from a long standing industry vendor,” Pinkerton said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times on Monday.
Pinkerton did not say what vendor employed Dolloff. The agency was started in the 1800s and describes itself on its website “as guardians and protectors of organizations around the world.”
NBC affiliate 9News said it hired Matthew Dolloff, 30, as a security guard for protection at competing rallies on Saturday, one held by a conservative group and another that featured Black Lives Matter and Antifa members.
Dolloff drew his weapon and shot dead Lee Keltner, whose son said was protesting in support of the police, as Keltner sprayed mace at Dolloff, photographs showed.
“The patriot hit the man in the face, then backed up to spray what looked like pepper spray at him. Literally in that split second the man who had gotten hit by the patriot pulled out a gun from his waistband and shot the patriot. It isn’t clear who fired first,” Helen Richardson, the photographer who captured the pictures, wrote on Instagram.
The graphic pictures showed Dolloff fire his weapon, Keltner fall to the ground, and Dolloff look around before kneeling on the ground as police officers in riot gear rushed over and took him into custody.
9News, which has not responded to requests for comment, has only given details about its relationship with Dolloff in its own news reports.
“Dolloff was contracted through Pinkerton by 9NEWS. It has been the practice of 9NEWS for a number of months to contract private security to accompany staff at protests,” the broadcaster said in one of its stories.
9NEWS’ General Manager Mark Cornetta added in a statement: “9NEWS is deeply saddened by this loss of life. We have and will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement.”
Acknowledging the unusual situation, 9News said it brought in a reporter from its sister station WFAA in Dallas to report on the investigation into the shooting.
TEGNA Media owns 9News. TEGNA also didn’t respond to requests for comment. TEGNA is a participant in The Trust Project, an international consortium of news organizations that is “building standards of transparency and working with technology platforms to affirm and amplify journalism’s commitment to transparency, accuracy, inclusion, and fairness so that the public can make informed news choices.”
The Trust Project didn’t answer when asked whether 9News’ conduct in this case has met its standards.
Dolloff, who is facing a first-degree murder charge, did not have a security guard license, a city spokesman confirmed to The Epoch Times. The violation of the law could land him up to one year in jail.
Pinkerton is also facing scrutiny because security guard companies are required to make sure their security guards have a proper license, Denver Department of Excise and Licenses spokesman Eric Escudero told The Epoch Times via email. “Any security guard employer licensee that if found to have violated the rules is subject to license revocation, suspension and/or fines,” he wrote.
The department is trying to figure out whether Pinkerton or another firm employed Dolloff.
The city has taken no administrative action against Pinkerton in the past concerning security guard employee licenses.
“Security professionals often serve as guides to protect media crews during potentially dangerous situations or hostile environments. We are fully cooperating with law enforcement authorities in their investigation,” Pinkerton told The Epoch Times.
The suspect at the time of the shooting “was acting in a professional capacity as an armed security guard for a local media outlet,” the Denver Police Department said in a statement.
Police backed away from a previous statement that Dolloff had no affiliation with the far-left Antifa network. “Investigators are unaware of whether the suspect is personally affiliated with any political organization,” the department said.
Dolloff had a number of posts on social media expressing support for Black Lives Matter and opposition to President Donald Trump and police.
Ryan Luby, a City Attorney’s Office (CAO) spokesman, told The Epoch Times in an email that he was looking to see whether companies that hire unlicensed security guards—in this case, 9News—could face repercussions.
The office “will weigh any additional criminal charges related to the defendant possibly operating as an unlicensed security guard once the Denver Police Department completes its homicide investigation,” he added.
“The CAO is also working with the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses to weigh disciplinary action against the security guard company for hiring and deploying an unlicensed guard, one without a license much less an armed endorsement.”
While Dolloff lacked a security guard license, he does have a concealed carry weapons permit that he obtained in 2018, Elbert County Sheriff Tim Norton told news outlets.
Norton said he was suspending the license until the criminal case pending against Dolloff is resolved.