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Security guard faces second-degree murder charge in fatal shooting at Denver protests

The charges against Matthew Dolloff, 30, in the fatal shooting of Lee Keltner, 49, will be filed Monday in Denver District Court.

A security guard accused of killing a man near dueling protests in downtown Denver last weekend will be charged with second-degree murder, authorities said Thursday.

The charges against Matthew Dolloff, 30, in the fatal shooting of Lee Keltner, 49, will be filed Monday in Denver District Court, the city district attorney’s office said in a statement.

A man punches another man after a rally in Denver on Oct. 10, 2020.Helen H. Richardson / Denver Post via Getty Images

Dolloff, who was arrested Saturday after the shooting outside the Denver Art Museum, had been held on suspicion of first-degree murder. The prosecutor’s office did not provide additional details about the second-degree murder charge.

The shooting took place after a “Patriot Rally” and what was described as a Black Lives Matter/antifa soup drive.

A man sprays mace as another man fatally fires a gun in Denver on Oct. 10, 2020. The man on the left was supporting the "Patriot Rally" and sprayed mace at the man on the right. The man at right, then shot and killed the protester at left. At the time two rallies, one right-wing and another left-wing, were taking place near one another.Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post via AP

Police have said the shooting followed a “verbal altercation.” A probable cause statement said that Keltner first struck Dolloff with an open hand on the side of his head. Dolloff allegedly then drew his gun and fired as Keltner fired pepper spray at him, the document says.

NBC affiliate KUSA reported that it had retained Dolloff as a private security contractor through a risk management and security services firm, Pinkerton.

City officials have said that while Pinkerton is licensed to use security guards in Denver, there was no record of Dolloff having such a license, which is required. Dolloff could face additional fines and jail time if he was found to have violated local law, officials have said.

Pinkerton, which has said it is cooperating with investigators, could also face administrative action.

A lawyer for Dolloff, Doug Richards, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. In a statement to KUSA earlier this week, he said Dolloff was acting in self-defense when he opened fire.

"This was not a political assignment for Matt," Richards said. "This was simply Matt protecting your employee."