DENVER (CBS4) – The family of Lee Keltner, the 49-year-old man shot and killed by a security guard last weekend in downtown Denver during a protest, says the announcement that second-degree murder charges will be filed in the case is a “positive first step.” Denver District Attorney Beth McCann’s office made the announcement of charges against Matthew Doloff on Thursday.
“The Keltner family obviously wants justice for Lee. The charges of 2nd Degree Murder announced today represent a positive first step. The available evidence supports these charges,” a statement from an attorney representing Keltner’s read. The statement, which was written on behalf of Keltner’s wife, went on to say that the family is “in shock and mourning the loss of a father, grandfather, son, brother and husband” who they hope is “remembered as a proud Coloradan, a veteran and an artist.” Keltner served in the Navy.
Video released earlier this week shows the seconds before and after Saturday’s deadly shooting. In the video, you can see a verbal altercation involving Keltner and another man, who are standing between the Denver Public Library and the Denver Art Museum. Keltner was holding a can of OC spray, also known as oleoresin capsicum spray or pepper spray. According to the probable cause statement released by the Denver Police Department, Dolloff got involved in the altercation with Keltner and the other protester at about 3:36 p.m. Keltner hit Dolloff on the side of the head with an open hand.
A photographer captured the moment Keltner discharged his pepper spray and Dolloff pulled his gun. Dolloff fired one shot and Keltner collapsed to the ground. Keltner was rushed to Denver Health where he was pronounced dead at 4:05 p.m. and Dolloff was taken into custody by officers.
Dolloff, 30, was hired by TV station 9News, through the security company Pinkerton. Records show he did not have the license required to work as a security guard in Denver. Keltner’s family statement criticized those companies, saying they “have issued carefully-crafted statements in what appear to be efforts to distance themselves from the shooting and Mr. Dolloff.”
The case against Dolloff will be filed in Denver District Court on Monday. If convicted, he faces a mandatory prison sentence of between 16 and 48 years.