A 30-year-old security guard will face a charge of second-degree murder for allegedly shooting and killing a participant in a “Patriot Rally” in downtown Denver on Saturday, prosecutors announced Thursday.
If convicted, Matthew Robert Dolloff could face up to 48 years in prison in connection to the shooting, which his family’s attorney has said was an act of self-defense. Dolloff was working as a security guard for journalists at Denver television station 9News when he opened fire.
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann announced she’ll formally file the charges against Dolloff on Monday. Police had arrested Dolloff on suspicion of first-degree murder.
The arrest affidavit for Dolloff released Tuesday states that Lee Keltner, the 49-year-old demonstrator who was killed, became involved in a dispute with Dolloff and a 9News producer, whom Dolloff was guarding. Keltner, who was holding a can of pepper spray, slapped Dolloff in the side of the head, according to the affidavit, and Dolloff then drew a gun from his waistband.
Dolloff fired the gun as Keltner discharged the pepper spray, according to the affidavit.
Beyond criminal charges in the shooting, Denver officials say Dolloff could face additional criminal or civil action for working in Denver without the city’s required municipal security guard license.
Dolloff was working as a contractor for Pinkerton, which 9News had contracted with for security. Management at the television station said Tuesday that they requested an unarmed guard and did not know Dolloff had a gun on Saturday until he opened fire.
Pinkerton said in a statement Monday that Dolloff was not an employee, but “a contractor agent from a long standing industry vendor” that the company would not name.
Dolloff worked as a security contractor for more than a year, his family attorney said, including at a debate Friday between senatorial candidates John Hickenlooper and Cory Gardner.
Under Colorado law, a person can use deadly force in self-defense only if that person reasonably believes using other, lesser force won’t be sufficient to stop an immediate threat against themselves or others.
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