DENVER (CBS4)– The Denver City Attorney’s Office is reacting to the deadly shooting at the Denver protests on Saturday with the possibility of civil or criminal actions for those involved with allowing an unlicensed person to perform security services. Matthew Dolloff remains in custody for investigation of first-degree murder in the death of Lee Keltner.

Two men clash after dueling rallies in Downtown Denver on October 10, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. The man on the left side of the photo sprays what appears to be pepper spray at the man on the right side of the image. The man at right, fires his gun at the protester at left. The shooting happened as opposing rallies by far-right and far-left activists were ending. The shooter has been identified as Matthew Dolloff. He is being held for investigation of First Degree Murder in connection with this shooting. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The shooting happened as two opposing demonstrations wrapped up in downtown Denver Saturday.

According to Denver TV station KUSA, Dolloff was contracted by 9News through the security company Pinkerton.

Matthew Dolloff (credit: Denver Police)

The Denver Department of Excise and Licenses confirms Dolloff did not have an active security guard license at the time of the shooting.

The Denver City Attorney’s Office released this statement to CBS4 on Monday afternoon, ““Licensed security guard employers that hire unlicensed security guards could face disciplinary actions against their licenses ranging from a fine, to suspension, to revocation. Businesses could also face criminal charges for permitting or directing an unlicensed person to perform security services. Regarding Matthew Dolloff, there could be civil or criminal actions taken, or both, against Mr. Dolloff, Pinkerton, 9News, and/or any other entity that hired and deployed Dolloff in an unlicensed security guard capacity.”

(Photo by Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

9News released this statement regarding the shooting on Monday afternoon, “9NEWS continues to cooperate fully with law enforcement and is deeply saddened by this loss of life. For the past few months, it has been the practice of 9NEWS to contract private security, through an outside firm, to accompany our personnel covering protests. Pinkerton, the private security firm, is responsible for ensuring its guards or those it contracts with are appropriately licensed. 9News does not contract directly with individual security personnel.”

The Denver City Attorney’s Office has already stated that it “will weigh any additional criminal charges related to the defendant possibly operating as an unlicensed security guard once the Denver Police Department completes its homicide investigation.” 
 
As police continue to investigate the shooting, an attorney working with Dolloff told CBS4 he was acting in self defense. That attorney, Doug Richards, said over the phone that Dolloff has been working as a security guard for more than a year and was at the rally to do his job Saturday.  
 
“Dolloff was acting in self-defense and doing his job,” Richards told CBS4. “He got his body between the 9News employee and the protester.”

Before Richards’ statements Monday, CBS4 spoke with Raj Chohan, attorney and CBS4 legal analyst, about the possibility of Dolloff arguing self defense. According to Colorado state law, a person is justified in self defense by deadly force when “a person reasonably believes a lesser degree of force is inadequate,” and “the actor has reasonable ground to believe, and does believe, that he or another person is in imminent danger of being killed or of receiving great bodily injury.”

“The video is going to be critically important because we are at least going to be able to see what people did in the moments leading up to the shooting,” Chohan said.  
 
While pictures and videos of the incident show the protester sprayed a chemical agent at Dolloff, Chohan said that alone “almost always is not enough.” For a jury to come to that conclusion, Chohan said it may need more information regarding any threats or other weapons involved. 

“There may be some context that goes along with this that we don’t know yet. For instance, if somebody was brandishing weapons or making threats and the person who was being sprayed in the face thought he was about to be attacked by weapons after getting sprayed,” Chohan said, “Without more we’re not going to know, and certainly, just getting shot in the face alone with pepper spray is probably never going to be enough for deadly force.”

Chohan also said acting as a security guard does not offer extra protections.  

“Security guards are not licensed and certified police officers. They don’t have the same protections that cops would have under similar circumstances,” he said. “The analysis is really going to look at the factually specific circumstances of this case and whether or not the security guard acted as a reasonable person would under these circumstances.”

Conor McCue

Comments (14)
  1. wayne says:

    This is murder, 9news is responsible for all of it. This “reporter” caused the interaction and the “guard” murdered the man. It’s that simple.
    Security guards have a very high legal bar to cross before using lethal force, which wasn’t met by a mile here.

  2. Scott says:

    Why would anyone think an Antifa chud would bother with something like licensing. He’s like one of their hilarious “medics,” larpers who make a homemade sign with cardboard and a sharpie and claim some level of legitimacy. Hope he’s raped every single day of his life.

  3. TomTancredoFan says:

    Some may say 9news has no culpability in this. But 9news is ostensibly still on the hook. Apparently they didn’t even do a speck of vetting with this guy. Supposedly, they are an investigative news organization. Didn’t it raise any concerns when the guy looked like a stoner instead of a professional security guard? Even a rube could do a quick look into his pro-antifa social media posts. Ultimately a jury will decide.

    1. Jonathan Galt says:

      Why do newsies need “security.” Because they want to literally stick a camera and microphone in between people being violent to each other. A good case can be made that the reporter’s presence was an incitement to violence.

    2. Zia says:

      9News will be culpable in this if the police/DA don’t slide it under the rug. The 9news producer was the agitator as clearly shown on video as an agitator and they never identified themselves as news. Which makes you wonder if they all colluded before doing this. The producer, the photographer and the shooter colluded to create chaos in an attempt to show the Trump supporters were violent then shoot/kill. I have no doubt that is exactly what happened.

      The Denver Post also posted the contact sheet from the photographer and you can clearly see the shooter going for his gun BEFORE the mace can was even lifted up never mind sprayed. This is flat out murder and if they colluded to instigate trouble, it is murder 1. It is not self defense, you can’t claim self dense when you are in agitator.

  4. Cornholio says:

    9News didn’t hire him. 9News hired Pinkerton to provide security. Pinkerton hired Dolloff. Pinkerton is at fault here for not checking out Dolloff, not 9News.

  5. Jim Aaron says:

    The family got $12 MILLION in a Louisville killing by Police, the Police raided her home and her Boyfriend shot the Police, they returned fire killing the Woman. I saw the Video of this killing, i don’t think shooting is the correct response to a man trying to mace him, he should have moved back instead, Lots of Rich defendants in this case.

  6. Radagast says:

    This guy is no different that Kyle Rittenhouse aside from being paid to be there, but conservatives have their panties in a wad instead of a hard-on; biased much?

    1. Mike says:

      Wrong, and completely void of commons sense.

    2. Zia says:

      Wrong, Rittenhouse was attempting to retreat, he was literally being attacked by multiple grown adult men, one of which had already slammed his head with a skateboard and another was pointing a gun at him.

    3. Jonathan Galt says:

      Please, help us all understand how a security guard who could have simply stepped back a foot out of range of pepper spray is exactly the same as someone who was running from multiple assailants, saying he was going to get police, and who was then knocked to the ground and they were kicking him and trying to take away his gun? This should be entertaining.

  7. ewkeane says:

    So who does Matthew Dolloff work for? Himself? No bonding, or insurance? No professional licenses?

  8. I hope the family brings a lawsuit against 9news and the number of companies who own 9news for negligence in hiring the murderer. It appears Doloff is trained and used this indoctrination training to commit this heinous murder where the premeditation was clearly evident. Shame on anyone who proclaims this man a hero for a one sided encounter. In looking at the handgun, it was “tricked” out with “holographic” sights, a mechanism for adding a suppressor and a flashlight. These are not what typical self-defense handguns have and I would be willing to guess that the firearm had a “LCM”. Shame on anyone who proclaims Doloff a hero and defames the decedent.

  9. Joe Campbell says:

    9news hired him. In fact they used him before. Will 9news be held accountable for their actions or will the Denver DA protect 9news? The murder did not have a security guard license, which means he could not have been offered by any security firm for hire. That only leaves 9news and their relationship with the murder. My guess is the DA will figure out a way to protect 9news from being a accessory to murder. But hey, its Denver.

Leave a Reply