Police: Protest shooting victim shot after altercations

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This photo provided by the Denver Police Department shows Matthew Dolloff. Police identified on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, a 30-year-old man as the suspect in a fatal shooting that took place in downtown Denver during dueling protests. Matthew Dolloff, a private security guard working for local television station KUSA TV, was being held for investigation of first degree murder in connection with Saturday afternoon's shooting, Denver police said in a social media post. (Denver Police Department via AP)

DENVER – A man fatally shot by a reporter's security guard after opposing weekend protests argued with another man before getting involved in an altercation with the guard, police said in a court document released Tuesday.

According to the arrest affidavit, Lee Keltner, 49, got into a verbal dispute with a 27-year-old man in which both “yelled and postured,” leading others to believe the dispute was going to turn physical on Saturday. A 60-year-old man stepped in between them to urge them to stop before 30-year-old Matthew Dolloff and a 25-year-old person engaged in an altercation with Keltner as he was still arguing with the 27-year-old man.

Keltner slapped Dolloff in the head and Dolloff pulled out a semiautomatic handgun and shot Keltner as Keltner discharged pepper spray at him, the document said.

The names of the people mentioned in the affidavit besides Dolloff and Keltner were redacted so it was not clear if the 25-year-old was the KUSA-TV staffer Dolloff was hired to protect.

A chronological sequence of 71 photos taken by a Denver Post photographer of both confrontations and the shooting published on Tuesday shows a man with a gray goatee standing between Keltner and a man with a shirt that says “Black Guns Matter." Keltner is eventually seen with a can in his hand turned away from them.

The next series of images taken over the course of about two seconds shows Dolloff place his hand on Keltner's chest as if to push him back, as a younger man stands behind Dolloff, and then Keltner hitting Dolloff in the head, knocking his sunglasses and hat out of place. Dolloff can then be seen pointing his gun at Keltner as he sprays pepper spray before dropping to the ground.

A lawyer who said he represented Dolloff's family, Doug Richards, said on Monday that Dolloff opened fire because he saw Keltner reach into his pocket and he feared for his safety. The Post photos do not appear to show that. Richards did not return a telephone call and an email seeking further comment Tuesday.

Police have said that two guns were found at the scene. But the affidavit did not address a second gun.

Dolloff has been jailed for investigation of first-degree murder, but he has not been charged.

KUSA-TV has said it has hired private security guards for months to accompany its journalists at protests and that Dolloff was hired through the Pinkerton security company. On Tuesday, the station said it had directed that the guards accompanying its staffers not be armed and that none of its crew accompanied by Dolloff on Saturday knew he was armed.

Pinkerton has said Dolloff was a contracted agent and not an employee and that the company “is fully cooperating with law enforcement authorities in their investigation of this matter.”

Denver officials have said Dolloff did not have a license to work as a security guard in the city and were investigating how he was allowed to work. Companies that employ unlicensed guards can have their company licenses suspended or revoked or subject to fines. In a statement on Monday, the city attorney's office said Dolloff, Pinkerton and KUSA and other entities that hired or deployed Dolloff could also face civil or criminal action.

Another Denver television station, KMGH-TV, reported that it has hired security through Pinkerton in the past and that Dolloff provided security during a U.S. Senate debate it hosted Friday. It said it had requested that guards be unarmed, and no guns were visible at the event.

Dolloff had a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Colorado issued by his local sheriff’s office, but it was suspended Monday because of the allegations he faces, Elbert County Sheriff Tim Norton said.