Expensive Lee: I by no means had an opportunity to fulfill you. However I’ll always remember you — and I’ll do my greatest to make sure that you’re not forgotten.
Because the proprietor of Crossfire Hats in Brighton, Colorado, your craftsmanship and artistry had been famend — and also you garnered native media consideration on your success for over twenty years within the extremely specialised enterprise. You instructed one interviewer that your work making customized cowboy hats was “preserving the West alive, one hat at a time” and that your merchandise represented the “historical past of the West.” You stated you had been a “nation boy” who “love(d) being an artist.”
Your pal and fellow hatter Steven Weil, proprietor of Rockmount Ranch Manufacturing Firm, instructed KDVR 31 Information that Lee Keltner was “a Western man, he adopted the cowboy code.” He praised you as “a person of integrity” and “trustworthy individual.”
You had been a beloved grandfather and father. Your sister Suzan famous that you simply “served our nation” as a U.S. Navy veteran. Your folks stated you had been the “man that might provide the shirt off his again” and a “patriot.”
You had been a household man, a self-made entrepreneur and artisan, a motorbike fanatic, and a salt-of-the-earth American who took pleasure in his group, his craft and his nation. My sort of folks.
On Oct. 10, 2020, you headed to Denver’s Civic Heart Plaza to attend a “Patriot Muster” — a peaceable gathering of residents hosted by Benghazi Marine hero John “Tig” Tiegen to take pride in America. Lots of carrying Previous Glory and Skinny Blue Line flags, donning MAGA hats, joined you. Younger and outdated, civilian and navy, able-bodied and wheelchair-bound, answered Tiegen’s name to “Stand Up and Present Up.”
The rally went off easily — till attendees started to disperse and return to their automobiles. Tiegen’s males had come educated and ready to defend their supporters after the violent Again the Blue rally that I attended three months earlier in July 2020 with a whole lot of others at the exact same Civic Heart Plaza was shut down by violent antifa and Black Lives Matter vigilantes wielding metallic rods, skateboards and megaphones to threaten and assault law-abiding residents.
Keep in mind: The Denver police union president Nick Rogers blew the whistle on how high brass (led by a police chief who marched arm in arm with BLM this summer season) issued a retreat order whereas the mob trampled our constitutional rights to free speech and peaceful meeting.
However regardless of Tiegen’s preparation, higher police presence and limitations that saved rioters from invading the plaza, one man didn’t make it out alive:
You. Lee Keltner.
Lee, you weren’t in a position to see or know that an agitator named Jeremiah Elliott had been antagonizing your fellow patriots all through the tip of the occasion as they walked again to their automobiles. From a number of items of video footage and from witness accounts I gathered, Elliott was menacing and hateful. He had a historical past of left-wing agitation, together with main an anarchist antifa/black bloc mob outdoors a Denver police station a month earlier than the Patriot Muster.
As I beforehand reported, Lee, whereas Elliott trailed you, a Trump-hating Occupy Denver radical named Matthew Dolloff and a neighborhood NBC affiliate investigative producer for Denver’s 9News named Zack Newman conferred with one another close by. In some unspecified time in the future, Dolloff handed his cellphone to Newman.
Minutes later, photographers and videographers filmed the agitator aggressively daring Keltner to deploy a can of bear spray he was holding to guard himself as Dolloff and Newman stood by intently. At first, Lee, you resisted partaking in any bodily brawl because the agitator escalated. Mere seconds later, you walked away from the agitator solely to stroll proper into what seems to be a lethal ambush with Dolloff. Right away, Dolloff appeared to seize for one thing in your chest when you slapped defensively at his face. Dolloff then instantly whipped out a gun and shot at your face as you sprayed the repellant in self-defense.
I repeat the questions I requested within the aftermath of what I consider was a media-political assassination, Lee, in order that they and you’ll not be forgotten:
What did Newman and Dolloff focus on as they shadowed you and Elliott?
Did they’ve beef with you?
Did Newman or Dolloff know Elliott?
Was Newman, who works for a station that routinely demonizes conservatives as violent racists whereas whitewashing the left-wing trashing of downtown Denver, conscious of Dolloff’s intensive social media footprint calling Trump supporters “racist” “fascists” and posting “Rise Up” Communist revolutionary propaganda?
Lee, your pal Steven Wright, who was with you in your final waking moments, continues to push for reality and justice in your case. He instructed me just lately: “Lee Keltner and I particularly mentioned you, Michelle.” Steven stated you instructed him that “nobody will damage her once more” and that the riot on the July “Again the Blue” occasion “had a major impression on me and Lee Keltner.”
Lee, I’ll by no means get to say “thanks” to you. However I vow in 2022 to make it possible for “by no means once more” is your legacy and that your identify and braveness should not forgotten. God bless you, patriot.
Michelle Malkin’s e-mail tackle is [email protected]