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Preliminary hearing rescheduled for unlicensed security guard accused in deadly protest shooting

Matthew Dolloff is accused of shooting and killing Lee Keltner following dueling rallies in downtown Denver.

DENVER — The preliminary hearing has been rescheduled for the unlicensed security guard charged with second-degree murder following a deadly shooting at dueling Denver rallies. 

Matthew Dolloff, 30, has been released from custody on a $500,000 bond. He is now being represented by Doug Richards, a private defense attorney, instead of the Colorado State Public Defender's Office. 

Due to the change in attorney, his preliminary hearing has been rescheduled from Friday to Jan. 8 at 1:30 p.m. 

During a preliminary hearing, prosecutors can present evidence and call witnesses, who can be cross-examined by the defense team. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge determines whether there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

If not, charges against the defendant are dismissed.

> The video above is from a previous 9NEWS story about the criminal case against Matthew Dolloff. 

RELATED: Unlicensed security guard charged in deadly shooting during dueling rallies posts $500,000 bond

Dolloff is accused of fatally shooting 49-year-old Lee Keltner on Oct. 10 outside the Denver Art Museum. It happened near the end of two dueling demonstrations that included members of Black Lives Matter as well as people attending what they dubbed a “Patriot Muster.” During a previous court date, Dolloff’s defense team claimed the shooting was self-defense.

According to a probable cause (PC) statement released by the Denver Police Department (DPD), Keltner and another man were engaged in a “verbal dispute” where both men “yelled and postured” outside the art museum. Witnesses told investigators they believed "the men may engage in a physical altercation," the PC statement says.

Witnesses said Keltner was seen holding a bottle of OC spray before he hit Dolloff on the side of the head with an open hand, the PC statement says. Dolloff then took a gun out of his waistband and fired one shot at the same time Keltner sprayed the OC spray, according to the PC statement.

Keltner immediately collapsed, and Dolloff was taken into custody. Keltner later died at the hospital.

RELATED: Photographers at rallies say images of shooter, victim before shooting provide new context

Keltner, reportedly 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.

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

Dolloff was not licensed to provide security services as required in the City and County of Denver, according to the city’s Dept. of Excise and Licenses. City law defines a security guard as “a person employed or engaged by a private security employer to perform security services.”

RELATED: Investigation: 9NEWS has used multiple unlicensed security guards

9NEWS management released the following statement after the shooting:

"Pinkerton, the company 9NEWS contracted with, is responsible for ensuring the appropriate licensing of its guards or those it contracts with. 9NEWS does not contract directly with individual security personnel. 9NEWS had directed Pinkerton that security guards accompanying our personnel not be armed, and none of the 9NEWS’ crew accompanied by Mr. Dolloff on Saturday were aware that he was armed. 9NEWS no longer uses Pinkerton to provide security."

Dolloff was issued a concealed carry permit in June 2018, which was viable for five years, according to Elbert County Sheriff Tim Norton. Norton said he suspended the permit shortly after the shooting.

Doug Richards, an attorney for the Dolloff family, said in a statement:

"Matt was acting in self-defense. Matt put his life and now his liberty in between the now-deceased and the 9NEWS employee. This was not a political assignment for Matt. This was simply Matt protecting your employee.”

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.”

RELATED: Companies who city says contracted unlicensed security guard charged in deadly shooting to defend licenses in court

Earlier this month, Denver’s Excise and Licenses Department said it had the grounds to revoke or suspend the licenses of Pinkerton and Isborn Security Services – the two security companies the city said arranged for Dolloff to work at the protests.

The two companies will defend their licenses at separate hearings scheduled for Dec. 8.

Both firms received citations on Nov. 4.

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