Denver Photojournalist Captures Capturing as It Unfolds

DENVER — The harrowing set of photos taken by a Denver Publish photographer that captured a deadly capturing unfolding on Saturday didn’t make it onto the entrance web page of the newspaper the following day.

That was not as a result of Helen H. Richardson, a Publish employees photographer, was dawdling, however as a result of she spent three hours after the capturing on the Denver Police Division headquarters being questioned as a witness.

“It’s 4 o’clock and I’ve a deadline,” she recalled telling the police after the capturing.

Ms. Richardson was close to Civic Middle Park in Denver on Saturday afternoon steps away from the fatal shooting, which left an attendee of a “Patriot Muster” rally useless and a non-public safety guard, employed by a tv information station, in police custody for a first-degree homicide investigation.

Ms. Richardson had been photographing the far-right rally whereas a far-left counterprotest befell close by.

After folks began to disperse, she was on the southern finish of the park, close to the Denver Artwork Museum, when an argument broke out.

“I don’t actually know what compelled me to stroll that manner,” Ms. Richardson mentioned in a cellphone name on Monday.

One of many males within the argument, Lee Keltner, abruptly disengaged from that altercation, she mentioned, and confronted the non-public guard, Matthew Dolloff, who had not been concerned within the argument. Moments later, he slapped Mr. Dolloff, she mentioned.

Ms. Richardson mentioned that the occasions unfolded in seconds and that Mr. Dolloff had come from behind her. Instinctively, she stored capturing the episode, “figuring out to settle down, to focus, to maintain capturing,” she mentioned.

After slapping Mr. Dolloff, Mr. Keltner sprayed a Mace-like substance at him, “it appeared like concurrently,” Ms. Richardson mentioned, as Mr. Dolloff pulled out a firearm and opened hearth.

“There was by no means a thought, Am I going to run?” she mentioned. “I didn’t have sufficient time to, actually.”

Two seconds after Mr. Keltner struck Mr. Dolloff, Mr. Keltner was shot and splayed on the pavement.

Within the photograph of Mr. Keltner mendacity on the bottom, Mr. Dolloff, his head turned exhausting to his left, seems to look immediately at Ms. Richardson’s digital camera.

“In that second it felt prefer it was solely me and him,” she mentioned. “Is he going to start out spraying bullets into the gang?” she recalled pondering. “I had no bulletproof vest, nothing.”

“I felt this sense of, I’m open; I’m actually susceptible,” she mentioned. “After which it was over.”

Mr. Keltner, 49, who owned a customized hat store within the Denver space, died after being taken to a hospital, the police mentioned on Saturday.

Mr. Dolloff, 30, had not but been charged on Monday, a police spokeswoman mentioned, and his lawyer didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Any costs would happen at a listening to inside 72 hours of his first advisement — an preliminary court docket look below Colorado state regulation — which was on Sunday, mentioned H. Michael Steinberg, a protection lawyer within the Denver space who shouldn’t be representing Mr. Dolloff.

Ms. Richardson is one among 5 employees photographers at The Denver Publish, which has been gutted by layoffs after a hedge-fund purchased the paper in 2011. She images quite a lot of topics, like sports activities, wildfires and different breaking information. The rally on Saturday is one among only some protests she has photographed in 2020 as a result of she was furloughed earlier within the yr, she mentioned.

The photographs on Saturday “simply occurred,” she mentioned. “I simply shot on the proper time.”

Ms. Richardson’s photograph of Mr. Keltner spraying Mr. Dolloff was a “second of the whole lot coming collectively in a single body,” she mentioned, including that it’s troublesome in fast-moving conditions to situate the digital camera in focus and with the right publicity.

“To get that second,” she mentioned, “it’s not simple to do. I used to be shocked.”

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