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DA can't overcome 'reasonable doubt,' will drop charges against unlicensed security guard in fatal shooting

Matthew Dolloff was charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of Lee Keltner at two dueling Denver rallies on Oct. 10, 2020.

DENVER — The District Attorney's Office will drop second-degree murder charges against Matthew Dolloff, the unlicensed security guard accused in a deadly shooting at dueling rallies in downtown Denver, according to Dolloff's lawyer.

Douglas Richards, Dolloff's lawyer, said they will drop the charges during a pretrial conference on March 21.

Dolloff's attorneys said he was acting in self-defense when he shot Lee Keltner, 49, outside the Denver Art Museum at the tail-end of two dueling rallies on Oct. 10, 2020.

A spokesperson for the Denver District Attorney's office said they "fully considered the facts and circumstances" and felt they "are not able to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." They informed the family of Keltner that they would dismiss the charges "soon."

Dolloff pleaded not guilty last May and asked for the case to go to trial.

RELATED: Unlicensed security guard charged in deadly protest shooting pleads not guilty

Keltner, a Navy veteran, worked as a hatter and was also a part of Colorado’s motorcycle community. The Biker Down Charity started a fundraiser for his family, describing him as a husband, father and friend to many.

Credit: Angus TV
Lee Keltner

The 2020 demonstrations included members of Black Lives Matter as well as people attending what they had dubbed a "Patriot Muster."

Dolloff was contracted through the company Pinkerton by 9NEWS. It was the practice of 9NEWS for a number of months to contract private security to accompany staff at protests.

RELATED: Excise department revokes license of security company involved in October shooting

Pinkerton had used Isborn Security Services to contract Dolloff and told the Denver Department of Excise and Licensing that it was unaware that he did not have a license to work as a security guard in Denver.

Isborn Security Services agreed to surrender its license to operate in Denver.

In June, Denver Department of Excise & Licenses revoked Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations' private security guard employer license. The final decision by the department's Executive Direct Ashley Kilroy came after a hearing officer recommended a six-month suspension of Pinkerton's license.

RELATED: Company that hired unlicensed security guard charged in fatal shooting to surrender license

The full statement from the Denver District Attorney's Office regarding the dismissal of charges is below.

"I can confirm that having fully considered the facts and circumstances surrounding the charges, today we informed Lee Keltner’s family members that we will soon dismiss the criminal case against Matthew Dolloff. In line with our ethical obligations, we cannot overcome the legal justifications of self-defense or defense of others. We are not able to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."

9NEWS management released the following statement about the incident on Oct. 12:

“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.”

Janet Oravetz contributed to this report.

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