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Prosecutors Formally Drop Charges Against Matthew Dolloff In 2020 Shooting Death Of Protester

DENVER (CBS4) - Prosecutors will formally drop charges on Monday against the former security guard accused of killing a protestor in Denver in October 2020. Matthew Dolloff is accused in the shooting death of Lee Keltner during a demonstration, while Dolloff was working as an armed guard for 9News.

Fatal Shooting in Denver Amid Dueling Protests
DENVER, COLORADO - OCTOBER 10: Two men clash after dueling rallies in Downtown Denver on October 10, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. The confrontation led to the man on the right fatally shooting the man on the left of the photo. The shooting happened as opposing rallies by far-right and far-left activists were ending. The shooter has been identified as Matthew Dolloff. He is being held for investigation of First Degree Murder in connection with this shooting. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The shooting happened as a "Patriot Muster" demonstration and a "BLM-Antifa Soup Drive" counter-protest were ending.

Dolloff pleaded not guilty to a second-degree murder charge.

Matthew Dolloff Booking Photo from DPD
Matthew Dolloff (credit: Denver Police)

Earlier this month, prosecutors confirmed to CBS4 they were dropping charges against Dolloff.

The Denver District Attorney's Office released the following statement on Monday:

This afternoon, prosecutors with the Denver DA's Office formally dismissed the case against Mr. Matthew Dolloff who was charged in October 2020 with one count of murder in the second degree for the shooting death of Mr. Lee Keltner. As the case progressed - and a full analysis of the case details including materials provided by defense counsel was made - prosecutors realized that they would not be able to prove that Mr. Dolloff did not have the right to use deadly force to defend himself and others pursuant to Colorado law. Prosecutors have an ethical obligation to proceed with a criminal case only if they believe they can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt which is why the case was dismissed today in Denver District Court.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann issued this statement:

"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.  However, without provocation, Mr. Keltner verbally threatened and physically assaulted Mr. Dolloff and was the initial aggressor before being shot. Under Colorado's law, Matthew Dolloff had no duty to retreat and was legally justified in his actions. While I do not agree with Mr. Dolloff's decision to use lethal force, the fact remains he had the right to do so under our law.

I do not believe violence and guns have any place at a peaceful protest. Firearms increase the dangerousness of these gatherings. Sadly, the presence of a firearm escalated an altercation into a deadly situation."

Shortly after the charges were dropped, Keltner's family and friends protested outside of the courthouse. They carried signs which read "Lee's life mattered," and "We love Lee."

RELATED: Denver Revokes Pinkerton's License After Shooting Involving Unlicensed Security Guard Matthew Dolloff

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