Protest Shooting

Police officers respond after a person was shot and killed outside the Denver Public Library as two opposing protests, a Patriot Rally and a BLM-Antifa Soup Drive, were winding down in Civic Center Park Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020 in Denver. (Michael Ciaglo/Special to The Denver Gazette)

The Denver District Attorney's office on Monday dropped the second-degree murder charge against the man accused in a fatal shooting at an October 2020 rally in downtown Denver.

Matthew Dolloff, 32, got into a confrontation with Lee Keltner, 49, as crowds from a pair of rallies on Oct. 10 in Civic Center Park dispersed. The rallies included a “Patriot Muster” and a “BLM-Antifa Soup Drive.”

Dolloff was working as security for Denver Gazette news partner 9News. Photos captured Keltner spraying what appeared to have been mace or pepper spray at Dolloff after striking him in the face, and Dolloff fatally shooting him.

As the case progressed, prosecutors realized that under the circumstances, Dolloff had the right to use deadly force in self-defense and to protect others, according to a statement from District Attorney Beth McCann's office. The statement said Keltner threatened and assaulted Dolloff without provocation.

"Lee Keltner’s death was a tragedy, and I understand that this decision is difficult to accept for those who loved him. My heart goes out to the friends and family of Mr. Keltner," McCann said in a statement.

She said she doesn't agree with Dolloff's decision to use deadly force, and she doesn't believe guns belong at peaceful protests.

Keltner was a Navy veteran and worked as a hatter.

Reporting by The Denver Gazette revealed that Dolloff didn't have a license to work as a security guard in Denver. The company Pinkerton had used Isborn Security Services to contract with Dolloff.

Isborn later entered an agreement with the city's Department of Excise and Licenses to surrender its license to operate in Denver, and the department later revoked Pinkerton's private security guard employer license.

9News contributed to this report.

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