By Thomas Peipert, The Associated Press
A former television station security guard pleaded not guilty Friday to second-degree murder in the shooting of a pro-police demonstrator following protests in downtown Denver.
Matthew Dolloff, 31, appeared with his attorneys virtually in district court in connection with the death of 49-year-old Lee Keltner. Judge Brian Whitney said he would set a trial date following a hearing scheduled for Aug. 6.
Attorneys for Dolloff say he acted in self-defense.
Dolloff was hired by KUSA-TV to protect a producer covering the Oct. 10, 2020, “Patriot Muster” demonstration and “BLM-Antifa Soup Drive” counterprotest.
Police say Keltner was arguing with a Black man as the rallies broke up before getting into an altercation with Dolloff.
Keltner slapped Dolloff in the head, and Dolloff pulled a handgun and shot Keltner as Keltner fired pepper spray at him, according to an arrest affidavit. A cellphone video taken by KUSA’s producer suggests Keltner was upset that his initial dispute was being recorded.
It shows Keltner in a confrontation with a man wearing a T-shirt that read, “Black Guns Matter.” A bystander is trying to defuse the argument.
The video then shows Keltner, holding a spray can, walking out of view. A man’s voice — it’s unclear if it’s Keltner — is heard saying the area was no place for cameras.
“Get the cameras out of here or I’m going to (expletive) you up,” the unidentified man says. Keltner and Dolloff are then shown scuffling before the video stops.
The producer resumed filming after the shooting and tells responding officers he is with the press and says of Keltner, “That guy was going to get me.” He also says the security guard shot Keltner because Keltner used pepper spray.
Police say they found two guns but didn’t reveal whom they belonged to.
Dolloff could face between 16 and 48 years in prison if he is convicted. He was released on bond in November.