Denver ‘Patriot Rally’ shooting suspect acted in self-defense: lawyer
The security guard investigated in the shooting death of a Navy veteran at a Denver rally acted in self-defense when he opened fire on the right-wing demonstrator, his lawyer said in an interview.
Matthew Dolloff, 30, a hired security guard, is being held in a first-degree murder investigation in the caught-on-video death of Lee Keltner during a “Patriot Rally” that included clashes with Black Lives Matter demonstrators.
Local news station 9News-TV had hired the Pinkerton detective agency sub-contractor to provide security during the demonstration, though he was not licensed to work in that capacity, officials have said.
Keltner struck Dolloff while holding a can of apparent pepper spray and used the substance against Dolloff, who opened fire, images from the confrontation show.
Family attorney Doug Richards told The Denver Post that Dolloff saw Keltner reaching into his shirt and feared for his safety.
“I think it’s important to recognize that this is somebody who is at the protest working to protect First Amendment rights,” Richards told the news outlet Monday.
“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,” he added.
Dolloff’s concealed carry pistol permit was yanked after the shooting pending the outcome of his first-degree murder case, according to KCNC-TV.
Richards said that Dolloff had worked as an armed security guard at a debate between Colorado’s U.S. Senate candidates held at Denver7’s TV studio.
The station confirmed that he was one of the guards at the event but disputed that he was armed.
“We do not use armed guards,” News Director Holly Gauntt told The Denver Post in an email. “We have always told Pinkerton that we want unarmed guards.”
Richards said he did not know precisely what security training Dolloff had undergone or who provided the training.
“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,” the attorney told the newspaper.
On Monday, Pinkerton released a statement offering its condolences to those affected by the shooting.
“As it relates to the incident in Denver on Oct. 10, the agent in question is not a Pinkerton employee but rather a contractor agent from a long-standing industry vendor,” the statement said.
“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.”
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