Denver police identified the man being held in connection with a fatal shooting Saturday afternoon in Civic Center park as 30-year-old Matthew Dolloff.
He is being held pending investigation for first-degree murder, police said.
The name of the man who was killed has not been released, but multiple media outlets identified the victim as 49-year-old Lee Keltner.
A woman who said she was the victim’s mother, Carol Keltner, wrote in a social media post that her son was killed after being shot in the head.
He was shot shortly before 4 p.m. Saturday and police said he died about an hour later. Photos from The Denver Post show a physical altercation between the shooter and victim, including the victim appearing to spray mace or pepper spray at the shooter.
On Saturday night, 9News identified the person arrested in the slaying as a security guard contracted through Pinkerton and said the television station has for several months hired private security to accompany its staff at protests. The station said Dolloff, though their story spells his name Doloff, has not been formally charged as of midday Sunday.
The Denver Gazette has not been able to confirm that Dolloff has a license to be a security guard.
Security guards are not licensed by the state of Colorado, but are by the city of Denver. A search for security guard licenses through Denver’s online Permitting and Licensing Center returned no results for Dolloff’s name under either spelling. The database shows a private security employer license record for Pinkerton has been locked as of Sunday.
Department of Excise and Licenses spokesperson Eric Escudero confirmed in an emailed statement the department has no record of an active security guard license at any time for anyone named Matthew Dolloff or Matthew Doloff.
“If he was operating as a security guard, he was in violation of the law. Administratively, a security guard operating without a license could be fined up to $999 dollars and face up to a year in jail,” Escudero wrote.
“The company he works for is also legally responsible for making sure all their security guard employees have a license and could face administrative action against their required security guard employer license if they have security guards working without a license.”
Regarding the status of Pinkerton’s private security employer license, he said the Department of Excise and Licenses has an active administrative investigation into the incident. He said he couldn’t comment on possible criminal penalties for operating without a license or operating a firearm.
A public information officer for the Denver City Attorney's Office, Ryan Luby, sent the following statement regarding potential additional criminal penalties for Dolloff and possible sanctions against Pinkerton:
“The City Attorney’s Office (CAO) will weigh any additional criminal charges related to the defendant possibly operating as an unlicensed security guard once the Denver Police Department completes its homicide investigation. The CAO is also working with the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses to weigh disciplinary action against the security guard company for hiring and deploying an unlicensed guard, one without a license much less an armed endorsement.”
Pinkerton has also been contacted for information about the company's policies for checking licensure of security guards it employs.
Saturday's shooting occurred in the courtyard near the Denver Art Museum just as participants in a rally billed as a “Patriot Muster” were leaving the park after a mostly peaceful afternoon of dueling demonstrations. The rally drew a counter-protest called a "BLM-Antifa Soup Drive."
The wounded man died after being taken from the scene of the shooting for medical treatment, police said.
Denver police said on Twitter Saturday night that the suspect in the shooting was a private security guard with "no affiliation with Antifa."
In a late-afternoon briefing on Saturday, DPD Division Chief Joe Montoya said that two guns and mace were recovered at the scene.
Police refused to give more details as the investigation continues, but said there was a verbal altercation before the shooting, which was captured by area HALO cameras.
The Patriot Muster rally started at 2 p.m. Across the park, several local groups including the Denver Communists, the Colorado Socialist Revolution and the Anon Resistance Movement organized had organized a counter-protest scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Some members of the rally wore clothing with the acronym “UADF,” the abbreviation for the United American Defense Force, which describes itself as a “first line of defense against domestic terrorists” and says governments have provided “cover for violent groups such as BLM, ANTIFA and NFAC.”
During the afternoon’s demonstrations, law enforcement kept the groups separated.
Only the BLM-Antifa Soup Drive was fully accessible to the public during the afternoon. Law enforcement officers taped off an area around the Patriot Rally, with only one entrance monitored by a member of the rally. By shortly after 3 p.m. law enforcement had cordoned off a wider area of the park around the rally extending to the street, making the Patriot Rally inaccessible.
Police briefly advanced on the BLM/Antifa group when a few members pushed over a section of fence around the area serving as a buffer between the groups.
A few officers raised their weapons when one person threw a can across the fence.
Those gathered accused the law enforcement officers of abusing their spouses and compared them to Nazis. They chanted phrases such as “Cops and Klan, hand in hand.”