DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Police addressed two separate incidents involving police firing their guns at suspects carrying suspected weapons.
The department discussed a shooting in the area of East 46th Avenue and North York Street, where a suspect thought to be holding a firearm was shot; and a confrontation in a store with an individual carrying a knife, who was eventually struck with a stun gun.
The department released bodyworn-camera footage of both incidents and held a briefing at 2 p.m.
Whole Foods stand-off
On Thursday, Oct. 19 officers were called to a Whole Foods store near Union Station for a report of someone brandishing a knife.
According to DPD Commander Matt Clark, several officers were inside the shop as they were employed as off-duty officers, but were in uniform. A suspect entered the store around 6:15 p.m., and appeared “out of it,” according to Clark.
The commander said the suspect went to the deli section of the store, went behind the counter and retrieved a large knife. He then returned to the customer side of the deli counter and was approached by the DPD officers.
The incident lasted for over 12 minutes. During the event, the suspect returned behind the deli counter and switched knives, retrieving a 13-inch serrated knife. Clark said the suspect also was miming stabbing himself in the chest.
After some dialogue with the officers, who had firearms, tasers and a “sponge launcher,” officers allege that the suspect began moving purposefully toward officers, one of whom fired one shot and another who deployed a Taser. The Taser made contact with the suspect and the gunshot struck a freezer.
The suspect was taken into custody and is facing a charge of felony menacing, but officials are also seeking to connect the suspect with mental health resources.
The store was also evacuated after shoppers were told to take cover.
Multiple shots fired at man allegedly menacing
On Thursday, Oct. 19 at about 2:30 p.m., Denver Police were called to the area of 46th Avenue and North York Street for an individual holding a weapon.
Clark said the incident began when the suspect pointed the weapon, which turned out to be an airsoft pistol that fires pellets with a similar exterior to real semiautomatic handguns, at a driver who was slowly following the suspect down a city street. The driver left the area and called police.
In an Oct. 19 press conference, Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said the suspect was threatening people with a handgun near 45th Avenue and St. Paul Street.
A plain-clothes DPD officer wearing a ballistic vest and other identifying information, first approached the suspect. Clark said the plain-clothes officer was concerned he would be shot and called in backup.
Three marked vehicles arrived and five officers followed the suspect with weapons drawn as he walked backward from them. Officers shouted at the suspect to drop his weapon and asked him what he needed.
Clark said the suspect responded to police by shouting, “Shoot me, shoot me.”
At one point, the suspect raised the pistol toward the officers, and four officers opened fire. The suspect was shot in the arm and torso. Officers fired 12 total rounds. One of the officers had previously been involved in a shooting while on duty as an officer.
On Oct. 19, Thomas said the suspect was in critical condition but expected to survive. On Thursday, Clark said the suspect was stable and expected to survive. The suspect is facing seven counts of felony menacing. No officers or bystanders were injured during the event.