Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Good shoot or bad shoot?

I had missed that Denver prosecutors dropped all charges against Matthew Dolloff in the shooting death of Lee Keltner in October 2020.  Who is Matthew Dolloff, I hear you ask?  The dude holding the heater here:

This was a protest where two sides stood off against each other.  Words led to shoving and Dolloff shot Keltner graveyard dead.  You can see Dolloff's slide pushed back and smoke from the propellant making a bee-line towards Keltner's head.  If you zoom way in there's a black dot that may or may not be the bullet right above Keltner's wrist.

So was this a good shoot or a bad shoot?

To answer this we need to put aside which "side" each was on.  Keltner was Patriot Front, Dolloff may or may not have been Antifa but does seem to have been BLM.  But quite frankly none of this matters.  From the DA's statement:

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.
...  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.

This may be some of the reason that the DA said that (images from the UK Sun newspaper):

Just a face slap, right?  Well, maybe - Keltner had a can of bear spray in his right hand here.  Mace may or may not be considered Deadly Force (some places it is, some places it isn't).  But here's the thing - look at the vertical chain link fence support right behind Keltner in the picture immediately above, then look at where that same fence support is in the first picture: clearly both men had stepped back.  While Colorado law says you have no duty to retreat, both men backed up.

So bad shoot?

Maybe not.  Look at the position of both men as Dolloff was drawing his pistol:

Kelter has taken a step back as he sees Dolloff drawing, but Dolloff has stepped way back.  Kelter seems absolutely to have been the aggressor, physically assaulting Dolloff and holding what may (or may not) be considered a deadly weapon in Colorado, but which is definitely considered a deadly weapon elsewhere.

So good (justified) shoot?  Remember, these pictures are from the video which means that the first and last are separated by a second, maybe two.  When things go bad, they go bad all of a sudden.

I don't know whether this was a good shoot or a bad one, but the DA seems to think so.  Maybe the DA in on the side of the "bad guys" but I don't think we should "flip the scrip" because Kelter was "on our side" and Dolloff wasn't.  Rule of law is a street that runs both ways - or should, when the range goes hot.

Feel free to comment with your opinion.  


danielbarger said...

Pepper spray a cop in ANY state and expect to get shot. Because pepper spray can incapacitate a person allowing them to take your firearm which justifies a deadly force response to pepper spray. The same fact applies to Tasers and other similar devices. So based solely on that it was likely a good shoot. If other facts are involved that may change things. The problem is the DA in Denver and most other big cities is ALWAYS a flaming leftist and makes their decisions based on politics. If the shooter had been a Proud Boy and the dead guy BLM/Antifa it's a virtual certainty that charges would have been maintained and a trial held.

JL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JL said...

Okay, I'll bite.

BLUF: were I in Mr. Dolloff's shoes, I would have done the exact same thing.

Here's why:

- Just looking at the pictures of both Mr. Kelter and Mr. Dolloff, I'd say there's definitely what you might call 'a disparity of force' between the two. Mr. Kelter has what I would estimate is at least a 40lb (or more) weight advantage over Mr. Dolloff. Despite what the movies might show you, in a real stand up fight, size matters. That's why professional fighting has weight classes.

- I don't know about anyone else, but I've been hit with chemical munitions before in training (OC and CS gas). Neither are fun to deal with. Yes, you can fight through this stuff (it's not 'kung fu in a can'), but you will have a hell of a time doing it. Nine times out of ten, you are going to find yourself at the mercy of whoever sprayed you, ESPECIALLY if they know what they're doing and had a game plan to deal with you beforehand.

- Words DO matter. I don't know what Mr. Kelter said to Mr. Dolloff, but given how...heated...things apparently were, I wouldn't be surprised if some verbal threats to cause harm to one another were exchanged between the two. Given that Mr. Kelter already has a.) a huge weight advantage, b.) is armed with a substance that can seriously debilitate one's ability to defend themself and/or flee the area, and c.) has already demonstrated intent to cause harm to Mr. Dolloff, we see that Mr. Dolloff, unlike anyone else in his shoes, would have observed that Mr. Kelter has the ability, intent, and means to carry out whatever threat(s) he issued to Mr. Dolloff (if this was, in fact, done).

- something else to keep in mind: it's not clear to me whether or not Mr. Kelter was aware that Mr. Dolloff was carrying a firearm during this engagement. But, if Mr. Kelter WAS aware Mr. Dolloff had a pistol and had been successful in incapacitating him with the bear spray, Mr. Dolloff could have been disarmed and there is the possibility his own firearm could have been used against him.

Granted, Mr. Dolloff was carrying a concealed firearm at what he probably knew was going to be a violent 'protest', which makes me wonder what he was intending to do with it. But....2A and a conceal carry permit, if applicable, says he's allowed to carry it.

Hell, the only reason I don't pack my Sig Sauer on me all the time is because I'm Canadian - I didn't even get a choice in the matter on that. My parents had sex here.

My two cents, for whatever it's worth.

Jess said...

If you attack someone armed, logic tells you they might revert to deadly force in fear of their safety.

I call it a good shoot, but wonder why anyone would want to place themself in that predicament.

Divemedic said...

Something that is being overlooked here: At the time of the shooting, Dolloff was illegally working as an armed security (body) guard, even though he was not licensed to work as any sort of security guard, much less an armed one.
He was carrying a gun without a CCW and without a security guard license or an armed guard endorsement.
So there is that. There is also the fact that the reporter he was supposedly guarding is a known member of Antifa, as is Dolloff himself. In fact, Dolloff posted to social media that it was time to begin purging Trump supporters, so there is that.
We will soon (if we aren't already) be at a point where "fair play" and rules won't matter. It will be win at all costs, or accept what the other side does to you.

Tacitus said...

There are some parallels to Rittenhouse.


Old NFO said...

Interesting for what we do and don't know...

Beans said...

And all of this was known within 2 hours, and reported as such, of the shooting.

Yes, the shooter shouldn't have had the gun. But he did.

Yes, the shootee shouldn't have smacked the shooter around. But he did.

Yes, both originally retreated a step or two, but the shootee then re-enganged by stepping forward.

Justifiable shooting any way you look at it. Shooter was in fear of being continually attacked and the shootee was armed with big arms and fists and a can of bear spray and a heckufalot of aggression.

The only question is, in California, is it legal to use a weapon that you legally can't be in possession of for self defense? That's the only question and the only chargeable offense I can see.

Aesop said...


This was in CO, not CA.

FWIW, in CA, the self-defense claim would be negated by deliberately carrying an illegal deadly weapon (mens rea) to a planned protest, having already made terroristic threats regarding his political opposition, and Dolloff would thus be looking at First Degree Murder with special circumstances and a firearms enhancement, depending entirely on the county and D.A. in question (which is textbook unequal protection of law), and convicted or not, he'd be looking at between 2 and 25 years of regular non-consensual butt seks, which seems like a suitable punishment for the incident.

Was it a legal shoot in CO? Probably.
Should Keltner be hunted down and offed anyways, in vigilante revenge? Also probably.
Is this where things are headed nationwide, like an express freight train? Absolutely.

Conduct yourselves accordingly.

One can but wonder how things might have gone had Keltner previously availed himself of some concealed kevlar...

Richard said...

Indeed, rule of law is a two way street. Pity we don't have it anymore.

Unknown said...

Looks like guy with "Shoot Me First" vest, Mr. Keltner, got shot first.

When the event happened many videos from various angles were out there. Mr. Dolloff was there with the counterprotestor "Soup Drive" can chuckers and pulling overwatch ('security') while chuckers where doing their best to instigate a fight.

At the time it appeared that Mr. Dolloff may have tried to lift the pistol from under the vest of of Mr. Keltner.

Looking at the pics alone it looks like Mr. Dolloff moved a foot to his left and Mr. Keltner backed up about six feet while Mr. Dolloff drew down on him. Then the shot amd Mr Dolloff advancing.

The DA made the right call - sit this one out until it is mostly forgotten.

JaimeInTexas said...

"... without provocation, Mr. Keltner verbally threatened and physically assaulted Mr. Dolloff ..."

Is there video of what transpired before the encounter that the DA can say "without provocation?"

Was not Dolloff part of a counter-protest?

Goober said...

The "Patriot Front" is NOT "on my side". Just clarifying that to make sure everyone here understands... We're too quick to say "I'm on the political right, he's on the political right, therefore, he's on my side". No. Just no.

Legally, this was probably a legal use of self-defense.

Ethically, practically, logically, or otherwise, it almost certainly wasn't the right thing to do.

If you can't retreat from an overweight guy with a short range "hurt you but almost certainly won't kill you" weapon, then yeah, you gotta fight, and with lethal force.

But you can't tell me that he couldn't have retreated.

I don't care about legality, too many people are way to quick to start killing other people, and that's not a good place to be. Walk. The. Hell. Away.

So, the DA made the right call. Dolloff, on the other hand, did not.

Robert said...

Bad shoot.

Voluntary Manslaughter at least.

The still photos are very misleading.

The entire video sequence clearly shows that Dolloff was the initial aggressor who charged at Kelter and assaulted him. And Dolloff drew his weapon first. Keltner never drew his firearm.

I suppose it is a bad idea to bring pepper spray to a gunfight.

What is worse is that there was a 3rd-party ANTIFA provocateur harassing Kelter immediately before the shooting. This looked like a pretext for Dolloff to intervene.

But wait, there is more. Other videos show the unnamed provocateur and Dolloff conferring with each other and with the Channel 9 cameraman (and woman) less than one minute prior to the incident.

"Did you get that shot?" "Sure did!".

On second thought, I would upgrade that charge to first-degree homicide. Add conspiracy and felony murder for the other three participants.

This whole incident looks to me like a made-for-television setup that went bad. But thanks to the Denver DA, The ANITFA parties got away clean.

This wasn't about any rule of law.