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'Security guard' charged with murder of pro-police activist was unlicensed, city claims

He had been hired as a bodyguard by a local news station.

Police detain Matthew Doloff in Denver, CO, Oct. 10
Police detain Matthew Doloff in Denver, CO, Oct. 10
(Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty)
Updated: October 13, 2020 - 6:23pm

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A purported "security guard" hired by a Colorado news station during a pro-police event in Denver last week was not licensed to perform that role when he fatally shot a protester at the event, city officials have confirmed. 

The guard, Matthew Dolloff, has been charged with the first-degree murder of Lee Keltner in Denver after he shot Keltner during an altercation at a "Patriot Muster" event on Saturday in the Denver downtown. 

Video and photographs of the event appear to depict Keltner and Dolloff in a brief altercation in which Keltner strikes and then pepper-sprays Dolloff. 

Dolloff then appears to discharge a single shot from his firearm at Keltner, who later died from the injury. 

Media reports initially identified Dolloff as an antifa activist. Local Denver station 9News later confirmed that he had been contracted as a security guard for a reporter at the event. The news station reported that it contracted Dolloff via the security firm Pinkerton.

Pinkerton, in turn, identified Dolloff as "a contractor agent" rather than a direct employee of the agency. 

Yet Denver officials subsequently stated that Dolloff was not licensed to be a security guard in the municipality, a requirement for anyone seeking to enter that industry in the city. 

The Denver Department of Excise and Licenses confirmed to CBS4 Denver that there is "no record for an active licensed security guard now or ever for an individual named Matthew Dolloff or Dolloff," reporter Andrea Flores wrote on Twitter. "If he was operating as a security guard, he was in violation of the law," the city continued. 

"Security guards are prohibited from carrying or using a firearm without getting an armed firearm endorsement for their license," license department spokesman Eric Escudero told the news station. 

"All security guards in Denver are required to get a federal background check before they receive their license," he added. 

Dollloff is being held without bond by the city. Keltner was reportedly at the event "to rally for the police department," his son Johnathon told the Denver Post. The 49-year-old Keltner ran a hat-making business in the city and was a Navy veteran. 

9News said in a statement that it "had directed that security guards accompanying our personnel not be armed."

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