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Security guard arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder after fatal shooting near dueling Denver rallies

Matthew Dolloff, 30, is being held at the Downtown Detention Center.

DENVER — An unlicensed private security guard is being held as a suspect in a deadly shooting near the Denver Art Museum, according to the Denver Police Department (DPD).

Matthew Dolloff, 30, is being held at the Denver Downtown Detention Center on suspicion of first-degree murder. He has not been formally charged.

Credit: Denver Police
Matthew Dolloff

The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner on Monday identified the victim as Lee Keltner, 49.

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

9NEWS management released the following statement about the incident:

"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.”

An additional statement from 9NEWS management was released Tuesday:

"As stated yesterday, 9NEWS does not contract directly with individual security personnel. 9NEWS contracted with Pinkerton and had directed that security guards accompanying our personnel not be armed. None of 9NEWS’ crew accompanied by Mr. Dolloff on Saturday were aware that he was armed.”

Denver Police said in a tweet that Dolloff was "acting in a professional capacity as an armed security guard."

DPD originally took two people into custody and later found the second individual, a 9NEWS producer who works in the investigative unit, was not involved in the incident. The producer is no longer in police custody and is not a suspect.

This incident occurred beneath a city police surveillance camera and police confirmed they have footage of what happened.

RELATED: Videos, digital images likely evidence in fatal shooting near dueling Denver protests

DPD said that a little before 3:50 p.m. there was some sort of verbal altercation just as protesters were leaving the area.

Someone sprayed pepper spray and DPD said that is when at least one shot was fired.

Helen H. Richardson, a photojournalist with The Denver Post, captured many of the moments leading up to the shooting.

Credit: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Credit: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

DPD reported Keltner was being transported to the hospital at 3:49 p.m., and said he had died an hour later.

Two guns were found on the scene, according to DPD.

A "Patriot Rally" was set for 2 p.m. The participants planned to meet earlier Saturday at several locations around the Denver metro area and drive to the park next to the state Capitol.

A counter-protest "BLM-Antifa Soup Drive" was planned to start at 1:30 p.m. at Civic Center to "drown out" the rally.

The Denver Police Department (DPD) said they would not provide specifics on how they were responding to the event and released the following statement:

The Denver Police Department respects the right to peacefully assemble. Those who participate in protests, demonstrations, marches, or other gatherings, as protected by the First Amendment, are reminded to do so in a lawful manner. Individuals who choose to act outside of local, state and federal law, will be subject to citation or arrest. 

On Friday, the organizer of the Patriot Rally, John "Tig" Tiegen, did an interview on The Steffan Tubbs Show on KNUS, during which he said, "I'm not going in there to do violence, but I'm going to be prepared to do violence."

On Twitter, Tiegan said the rally was intended to "fight back, push back. Time to take our country back."

The Denver Communists, one of the organizations sponsoring the Soup Drive, posted Friday on Facebook: "We feel it is our responsibility to vocally oppose fascists every time the try to assemble. And we hope you feel the same way! And what are our options? To cede our streets to them?"

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