Guard held in Denver protest fatal shooting was not licensed in city, officials say

Matt Dolloff, 30, a private security guard accused of shooting a patriot rally protester in Denver, was not licensed with the city, officials said. Photo courtesy of Denver Police Department

Oct. 13 (UPI) — The private security guard accused of fatally shooting a man Saturday during a clash of dueling protests in Denver was not registered with the city, but had a valid concealed carry license, officials said.

Matthew Dolloff, 30, appeared Sunday in Denver criminal court, where he was charged with first-degree murder and ordered held without bond.

Dolloff is accused of killing Navy veteran Lee Keltner Keltner, 49, a professional cowboy hat maker, during the final minutes of a conflict between “patriot rally” participants and left-wing counter protesters.

Television channel 9News acknowledged Sunday that Dolloff was hired through the Pinkerton National Detective Agency to provide security for news reporters at the protests near the Civic Center Park and the Denver Art Museum.

Dolloff did not register for a Denver professional security officer license, Eric Escudero, spokesman for the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses told the Denver Post.

“We do not currently have an active license and have never had an active license for anybody with that name,” Escudero said. “If he was operating as a security guard, he was in violation of the law.”

Colorado has no state license requirements for security guards, but Denver requires guards to complete at least 16 hours of training and additional training if a guard carries a concealed weapon or is working in plain clothes.

Dolloff could be fined $999 and face up to a year in jail for working as an unlicensed guard, Escudero said.

On Monday, Pinkerton released a statement identifying Dolloff as an independent “contractor agent from a long standing industry vendor.”

The agency said news organizations often hire private security agents to “serve as guides to protect media crews during potential dangerous situations or hostile environments.” It said it was cooperating with the investigation by law enforcement agencies.

Elbert County Sheriff Tim Norton said Monday that he had revoked Dolloff’s valid concealed carry permit until further notice.

Dolloff’s social media pages appear to show that he posted political content in 2016, the Denver Post reported.

About 150 people, many wearing paramilitary gear, attended a so-called “Patriot Muster” organized by John “Tig” Tiegen, a former U.S. Marine, who filed re-election paperwork for President Donald Trump in Colorado.

Many appeared to be carrying concealed handguns, the Denverite reported. Law enforcement agents from Denver police and sheriff’s department succeeded in keeping the two groups apart until the shooting, which occurred about 3:40 p.m. as the rally was ending.

Tiegen said Sunday that his Facebook page had been taken down.

Denver Post photojournalist Helen Richardson captured the shooting in images that appeared to show Keltner slapping Dolloff, knocking off his hat and then stepping backward, spraying what appears to be mace. The photos show Dolloff aiming a gun at Keltner and then Keltner lying on the ground.

Two guns and a can of mace were recovered at the scene, Denver police said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here