When we discussed the killing of a Trump supporter at a Patriot Rally in Denver on Saturday, many questions remained. Law enforcement was being tight-lipped about the details, including the identity of both the shooter and the victim as the investigation moved forward. By the end of the weekend, a few of those questions had been answered. The victim has been identified as Lee Keltner, a 49-year-old military veteran, father, and grandfather. Making an already horrible situation even worse, Keltner was shot dead right in front of his son.
The shooter has been identified as Matthew Robert Dolloff, age 30, a Pinkerton security guard. (His identity had been leaked on social media on Saturday, but we withheld it until the authorities cleared the official release of the information so as not to potentially impede an ongoing investigation.) Dolloff has quite a history of left-wing activism, including ties to Antifa, which may have played into his motivation to kill. But despite rumors to the contrary, it does appear that he had been hired by local news station 9News-TV to provide security for their reporters during the rally as they had done in the past. Questions remain as to whether Dolloff actually had a license to work as a security guard, however. Pinkerton didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on that aspect of the story. (NY Post)
The hired Pinkerton security guard accused of shooting a protester dead during a Denver rally Saturday has been identified as Matthew Robert Dolloff, according to police.
Dolloff, 30, is being held in a first-degree murder investigation in the shooting death of Lee Keltner, the Denver Police Department said on Twitter.
Police said Dolloff has not been charged but is being questioned in connection with Keltner’s caught-on-video shooting death in the courtyard of the Denver Art Museum during a “Patriot Rally” that included clashes with Black Lives Matter demonstrators.
As you would imagine, Keltner’s son tells reporters that he is not doing well after witnessing the murder of his father. His aunt spoke to the press about how they are doing.
“He was there,” Suzan Keltner said in a telephone interview. Asked if her nephew was doing okay, she said, “No, no he’s not.”
Lee Keltner, a hat-maker, and military vet, was part of a “Patriot Rally” outside the Denver Art Museum when he was shot and killed by a Pinkerton guard hired by a local TV station.
“He was my brother, my only sibling,” Suzan Keltner said. “He also served our country.”
While we still don’t know exactly what set off the lethal chain of events, a series of photos published by the Denver Post provides some clues. As I noted on Saturday, the video that a participant published on social media reveals that Keltner was engaged in a shouting match with a man in a BLM shirt before walking out of frame to the right. Only nine seconds passed from that moment to the firing of the first gunshot. The pictures show Keltner slapping Dolloff in the face. He’s then seen discharging a can of mace toward Dolloff just as the shooter prepares to open fire. It doesn’t seem like there would have been much time for a dispute to arise in that nine-second span.
If the photos are depicting the events accurately, Keltner instigated the physical violence. But since he was only armed with his bare hands and a non-lethal weapon (mace), Dolloff may have a very difficult time in court convincing a jury that the level of lethal force he employed in response was appropriate or that he was legitimately in fear for his life. But no matter which way the verdict goes, this doesn’t appear to be a case of Dolloff simply walking up and randomly shooting a Trump supporter in cold blood without provocation as some had originally speculated. Still, the Keltner family is left without their father and grandfather and with many questions as they work through the grieving process.