Denver TV station security guard formally charged with 2nd-degree murder following protest shooting

Suspect Matthew Doloff (photo inset) is facing first-degree murder charges for allegedly...
Suspect Matthew Doloff (photo inset) is facing second-degree murder charges for allegedly shooting a man during dueling protests at Denver's Civic Center Park on Oct. 10, 2020. Denver channel KUSA has acknowledged Doloff was contracted as a security guard for them.(Denver Police Department via CBS Denver)
Published: Oct. 10, 2020 at 4:37 PM MDT
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DENVER (KKTV) - A private security guard contracted by a Denver TV station has been formally charged with murder in connection with a deadly shooting during dueling protests at the city’s Civic Center Park.

The opposing protests involved a right-wing “Patriot Rally” and a left-wing “BLM-Antifa Soup Drive,” both of which were staged at the park on Oct. 10. Despite fears of violence ahead of those rallies -- the concern stemming from the fights that broke out when two opposing groups crossed paths over the summer -- the demonstrations were largely peaceful up until the shooting. The Denver Police Department said the gunfire happened towards the end of the event following a “verbal altercation.”

“The protest activity that we had been working on was starting to break up, people were starting to egress out of the park. At 3:37 p.m., officers working the event got on the air and indicated that shots were fired and that there was a person down, and they also indicated that a suspect was in custody,” said Division Chief Joe Montoya.

“What we determined was that there was a verbal altercation that transpired near the area of the shooting, which was between the art museum and the Denver Public Library. ... There was a verbal altercation that transpired, a firearm was discharged, an individual was shot and later pronounced deceased. There were two guns recovered at the scene.”

The suspect and victim were both white males, Montoya said. He wouldn’t comment on the group affiliation of the person shot. The victim has been odentified as 49-year-old Lee Keltner.

When asked about reports that the victim had sprayed tear gas or mace just prior to the shooting, Montoya said investigators were still trying to determine that.

“Mace was recovered at the scene, a canister of mace. We’re still trying to determine, we’re reviewing the evidence to determine is that was what occurred."

Sister station CBS Denver spoke to a photographer who said he recorded the incident.

"We all looked up. We saw a spray of pepper spray poof into the air and then a guy, a shot.”

Denver news station 9NEWS has confirmed to the public that a producer and a privately hired security guard for their station were both detained after the shooting. According to the news station, the security guard is the suspect in the homicide. The producer has since been released.

“The private security guard in custody was contracted through Pinkerton by 9NEWS. It has been the practice of 9NEWS for a number of months to contract private security to accompany staff at protests,” 9NEWS said on their website.

The suspect was identified as Matthew Doloff, 30. He was formally charged with second-degree murder Monday.

Montoya said whether the suspect was authorized to be carrying a weapon would be part of the investigation. It would be up to the district attorney to determine whether or not the suspect was acting in self-defense.

“That’s for the district attorney to evaluate -- if that’s the case, in any instance -- what you deem that threat to be ... it’s up to the district attorney to determine if meets the criteria for charges.”

There was a large police presence at the rallies at the time of the shooting.

“There were two groups with opposing views, and we know that can get very tense. There’s always potential for violence, we understand that.”

Despite that potential, when asked if the groups clashed at any time, Montoya said officers were able to keep the rallies separate.

“We went through great lengths to separate them. Throughout the process of the protests, they were not in close proximity.”

Sister station CBS 4 said there were no other arrests connected to the Oct. 10 protests.

The full Denver Police news briefing can be watched below:

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