A security guard suspected of fatally shooting a protester Saturday in Denver claims he acted in self-defense, according to his lawyer, the Denver Post reported Tuesday.
Matthew Dolloff, 30, reportedly shot Navy veteran Lee Keltner, 49, when a “Patriot Rally” and Black Lives Matter demonstration clashed Saturday, according to the Post. Dolloff is under investigation for first-degree murder, part of the incident was was caught on video.
Keltner reportedly hit Dolloff and sprayed him with a substance, after which Dolloff allegedly shot Keltner, though it’s unclear which occurred first, the Post reported.
Doug Richards, Dolloff’s attorney, said he feared for his safety when Keltner allegedly reached inside his shirt.
“I think it’s important to recognize that this is somebody who is at the protest working to protect First Amendment rights,” Richards said, the Post reported.
“He was not there on behalf of any organization or to advance any political agenda. You can see in the images that he put his body in between the protester and the reporter. Matt was doing everything he was supposed to do and everything he was trained to do,” Richards said, the Post reported.
NEW: Denver Dept of Excise and Licenses confirms “there is no record for an active licensed security guard now or ever for an individual named Matthew Doloff or Dolloff. If he was operating as a security guard, he was in violation of the law”. More tonight on @CBSDenver at 10p pic.twitter.com/mFAYXZ1er5
— Andrea Flores (@AndreaFloresTV) October 11, 2020
Local TV station 9News said it hired Dolloff as a subcontractor through Pinkerton to provide security during the protests. City officials said Dolloff was not licensed to work in the capacity he was hired for, the Post reported.
Dolloff’s concealed carry pistol permit was revoked after the incident pending the results of his case, the Post reported. (RELATED: Colorado Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Attempted Homicide After Shooting At Protest)
Dolloff worked as an armed guard at a debate at Denver7 studio the night before the incident, the Post reported. Denver7 confirmed that Dolloff was hired, but said he was unarmed during the event.
“We do not use armed guards,” Denver7 news director Holly Gauntt said. “We have always told Pinkerton that we want unarmed guards.”
Dolloff has worked as a private security guard in Colorado for over a year as a student job, though Richards said he didn’t know his training background or whether he had a license to work in Denver, the Post reported.
“Even if he didn’t carry the special Denver security license, it didn’t stop Pinkerton from sending Matt into that job and it doesn’t change the fact that Matt was acting in self-defense,” Richards said.
Pinkerton officials confirmed Dolloff’s status as a contractor along with a statement of condolences on Monday, the Post reported.
Dolloff is a student at the University of Colorado Denver, where he was pursuing an undergraduate degree in political science.
His family has received death threats and hate mail following the incident, the Post reported. “They’re essentially in hiding right now because people think that this was a political event,” Richards said.
Dolloff was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder, as of Monday he had not been formally charged, the Post reported. He is held at Denver’s Downtown Detention Center without bond.
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