Denver DA drops murder charge against security guard who shot ‘Patriot Rally’ goer, victim’s family responds

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(Video Credit: Denver7 – The Denver Channel)

Denver prosecutors have officially dropped a murder charge against Matthew Dolloff, a former private security guard who shot and killed Lee Keltner, a U.S. Navy veteran and hat-maker who was confronting a violent BLM-Antifa protester at a “Patriot Rally” in 2020.

The entire altercation was caught on camera. Keltner was at the rally with his son when the tragic incident occurred.

The veteran slapped Dolloff alongside his head which prompted the unlicensed security guard to pull his gun and shoot him in the head as Keltner started deploying a can of bear spray. Keltner died at the scene. The guard reportedly did not have a license to carry the gun either.

The security guard was arrested at the scene and charged with second-degree murder. He insisted that the shooting was self-defense. Prosecutors have now stated that they believe that assertion is too difficult to overcome in a court of law, the Denver Post reported.

The veteran’s family members believe that the prosecutors were going to release Dolloff no matter what.

(Video Credit: FOX31 Denver)

Dolloff’s attorney told the Denver Post that he was informed by prosecutors that they will dismiss the second-degree murder charge during a pretrial conference on March 21.

“I’m just really happy for Matt and his family that the DA finally realized what we’d known all along,” attorney Doug Richards told the media outlet.

Dolloff was reportedly at the rally to protect a KUSA-TV producer. Both Richards and a public defender who previously represented the former security guard contend that the shooting was clearly self-defense.

“Matt put his life and now his liberty in between the now-deceased and the 9NEWS employee,” Richards stated in October, according to the New York Post. “This was not a political assignment for Matt. This was simply Matt protecting your employee.”

(Video Credit: The Sun | WARNING: Graphic Content)

(Video Credit: CBS Evening News)

On Thursday, a Denver District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman confirmed that the murder charge would be dropped.

“In line with our ethical obligations, we cannot overcome the legal justifications of self-defense or defense of others,” spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler said via an email. “We are not able to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In May, Dolloff pleaded not guilty to the charge. He was set to go to trial in April but that will no longer be the case. Instead, he will remain free. He was previously released on $500,000 bail in November. If he had been convicted, he could have faced up to 48 years in prison. There are no additional charges pending.

Keltner’s family was informed of the determination on Thursday by prosecutors.

Under Colorado law, a person can use deadly force in self-defense only if that person reasonably thinks using less force won’t stop the attack, and the person reasonably believes he or someone else faces an immediate threat of being killed or seriously hurt in the altercation.

The action taken in self-defense must be generally proportionate to the attack according to experts.

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