Denver police officer shoots suspect allegedly wielding large knife

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DENVER (KDVR) — An officer-involved shooting occurred around 37th Avenue and Race Street on Saturday afternoon.

According to Denver Police Division Chief Ron Thomas, DPD received a 911 call from someone saying a man was walking down the street with a large butcher knife in his hand at 1:39 p.m. on Saturday.

The individual was walking between Race and Vine on 37th Avenue towards the park, according to Thomas. An officer in a patrol car nearby arrived swiftly to the scene.

The officer exited his car and the individual advanced toward the officer quickly, Thomas said. When the man came within a “few feet” of the officer holding the knife in a threatening manner, the officer drew and fired his weapon.

The individual was struck and more officers nearby arrived and administered aid, Thomas said. The individual was transported to the hospital. No update has been given on the suspect’s condition, but Thomas said he was alive when he left the scene.

Neighbors say they heard about five shots, and saw dozens of squad cars close in on the park. 

“Out of nowhere, I just heard five very loud bangs,” Jake Wnuck said. “I saw maybe 20 or 30 police officer cars, everything was blocked off.”

Thomas declined to elaborate on why the officer used lethal force, instead of attempting to use a taser. 

“In this situation there was a significant threat to the officer,” he said. “Someone within that proximity, holding the knife in a very threatening manner, and getting very, very close to that officer.”

As of 8 p.m. Saturday, a DPD spokesperson said the man was in serious condition at a hospital. 

After retrieving the weapon from the individual, Thomas said it is more like a machete than a butcher knife.

No officers were injured in the incident.

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