The military veteran who was gunned down amid dueling rallies in Denver over the weekend operated a hat-making business and viewed himself as an artist.

Lee Keltner, 49, operated Crossfire Hats in Brighton, Colo. He was fatally shot Saturday while attending a pro-police “Patriot Muster” near the Denver Art Musem.

Matthew Dolloff, a private security guard hired by a local news station to accompany its staff to protests, is jailed on suspicion of first-degree murder.

In a video interview about his business, Keltner is seen at his shop making cowboy custom hats, which he called "wearable art."

"The cowboy hat is the history of the West," he said, before explaining cattleman-style hats are the most popular hat in Texas and Colorado. “Everything I do is custom. I do one hat at a time, I do it right for that customer, and then I move on to the next one.”

The Navy veteran and grandfather said he saw himself as an artist. The video shows him going through the process of creating one of his signature hats by shaping it and then refining the material. 

"I love being an artist," Keltner said. "Creating new and different things because I do all the work myself and I do it one at a time. It's truly special for that customer."

In a 2015 interview with The Denver Post, Keltner explained the difference between himself and other "hatters," or hat makers. 

"An old friend of mine once told me that my hats are different because other hatters put their particular style into every hat, whereas my hats are not me -- they're my customer," he said. 

"When you work behind the hat counter, it's pretty much because of addiction," he added. "It gets in your blood and you get a passion for it. It's an art, like painting, and I just kept doing it."

Keltner, who described himself as a "country boy," died Saturday after attending a rally to support law enforcement. Nearby, another demonstration dubbed the “BLM-Antifa Soup Drive” drew hundreds to a park.

A man who appeared to be Keltner was seen slapping and spraying Mace at someone appearing to be Dolloff, The Denver Post reported. The man appearing to be Dolloff drew a gun and shot the other person, according to witnesses. 

"There was a verbal altercation that transpired. A firearm was discharged," Joe Montoya, Denver Police chief of investigations, said. "An individual was shot and later pronounced deceased. There were two guns recovered at the scene."

Keltner was with his 24-year-old son when he was shot. 

Carol Keltner, who said she was the victim's mother, announced her son's death via a Facebook post.


"After the rally a person on the BLM and Antifa side went up to him said a few nasty words then shot him in the head. He was murdered because he backed the police," she continued.

Though Dolloff was working as a contractor, he was not properly licensed, according to media reports.