DENVER — A television station security guard accused of fatally shooting a pro-police demonstrator following opposing rallies will be charged with second-degree murder, Denver’s District Attorney Beth McCann said Thursday.
The charge will be filed against Matthew Dolloff, 30, on Monday — the deadline for prosecutors to bring charges — in the death of Lee Keltner, 49, McCann said in a statement. She did not elaborate on her decision to prosecute Dolloff, who was protecting a KUSA-TV producer at the time, for second-degree murder, rather than first-degree murder.
People convicted of second-degree murder face a mandatory sentence of between 16 and 48 years in prison.
Police say Keltner was in a verbal dispute with a 27-year-old man as the rallies broke up Saturday when Dolloff and a 25-year-old person got into an altercation with Keltner.
Keltner slapped Dolloff in the head and Dolloff pulled out a semiautomatic handgun and shot Keltner as Keltner discharged pepper spray at him, police said in an arrest affidavit.
According to video taken by KUSA’s producer, Keltner was upset that his dispute with the first man was being recorded by a camera.
No attorney was listed for Dolloff yet in court records.
9News says it has been hiring security guards to accompany its staff at protests for several months. Dolloff was provided to the station by the security firm Pinkerton, which says it obtained Dolloff’s services through a contract with Isborn Security Services.
Matt Isborn, the owner of Isborn Security Services, said Wednesday that his company had hired Dolloff to work for KUSA-TV. He said the information released so far shows that Dolloff’s actions were “strictly defensive in nature” and his quick reaction may have saved the producer’s life.
Dolloff’s attorney has defended his client’s actions as being in self-defense. Dolloff was accompanying a 9News producer at the time of the shooting.
9News said it specifically asked Pinkerton for unarmed guards and that none of its employees were aware that Dolloff had a gun on the day of the shooting.
The Colorado Sun contributed to this story.