On Saturday, demonstrations in downtown Denver turned violent as a man was shot and killed amid dueling protests near Civic Center Park. The alleged shooter, who was hired by television station 9News to provide security for its reporters, is now being held without bail as part of a homicide investigation.
Misinformation about the suspect’s affiliation and motives began spreading quickly in the aftermath of the shooting, but we now have a clearer picture of what happened on Saturday, who was involved, and what charges the suspect may face.
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Here are the facts we know right now, which we’ve pieced together based on the work of local reporters and photojournalists who witnessed the event, as well as reliable information that has emerged since:
- The victim of the shooting was a 49-year-old man named Lee Keltner, his son confirmed to the Denver Post on Sunday, though his identity has not been released by city officials. The man’s son told reporters that his father, a Navy veteran who ran a hat-making business in Brighton, was not affiliated with any group but went to the demonstrations Saturday to show support for law enforcement.
- The shooting suspect is a 30-year-old man named Matthew Dolloff, who was not affiliated with any of the groups protesting on Saturday. 9News says that the station hired Dolloff via security contractor group Pinkerton, and that it has been contracting private security guards to accompany its staff to cover protests in recent months. The network released the following statement: “9NEWS is deeply saddened by this loss of life. We have and will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement.”
- It’s unclear what exactly led to the shooting, but a series of intense photographs from Denver Post photographer Helen H. Richardson appear to show Keltner and Dolloff in a confrontation before Dolloff discharged his firearm. (Warning: the photos are graphic.)
- The shooting Saturday happened as two protests were wrapping up downtown. One was called a “Patriot Rally,” which Keltner appears to have been attending, while the other was billed as a “BLM Antifa Soup Drive.”
- In addition to first degree murder, Dolloff is being investigated by local law enforcement for failing to have a city-issued private security license. According to city officials, if Dolloff was contracted to work as a security officer by Pinkerton, he was employed illegally and may face additional charges. Pinkerton later released a statement saying Dolloff was not an employee, but instead a “contracted agent from a long-standing industry vendor.”
- This is at least the fourth time someone was shot at aa protest in Colorado this year.