WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (KDVR) — An enraged, violent man who threatened people with a large knife and started a fire in his apartment was successfully prevented from escalating the situation by Wheat Ridge police officers.
The police department released an edit of body camera video from the incident on Friday.
Earlier in the week, on Monday, an emergency dispatcher received a call from an apartment complex employee saying there was a distraught resident becoming agitated, police said. While the dispatcher was on the phone with the employee, the man pulled out a machete and began threatening her and others around with it.
The dispatcher told the employee to run and get to safety while police were notified and were on the way to the location.
In body camera video, officers arrive to the man standing outside an apartment on the second floor still holding the machete. Police order him to drop the knife, which he does rather quickly.
The man then barricades himself inside his apartment and sets a fire. Next in the video, you can see smoke coming from his place while he’s on the balcony and an officer begins a conversation with him.
Police continue to talk the man down from his heightened state of agitation for approximately 13 minutes. Other officers and firefighters evacuated surrounding units in the complex to take residents and pets to a safe distance from the threat.
The police department said it felt obligated to share the story as more and more public cries for transparency are heard.
“It’s really hard not to highlight what this officer did, because it was just so impressive,” Public Information Officer Joanna Small said. “He would tell you he was just doing his job, but what he did was pretty remarkable.”
Officers eventually convinced the man to jump from his balcony where they safely took him into custody. He was transported to the hospital and evaluated then taken to jail. Police said he is facing charges of arson, felony menacing and attempted murder.
“The officer reminded him, there’s other people here who could die if you don’t come out of this window,” Small said. “He appealed to a sense of humanity, and that’s sort of what ended up getting him out of the window.”
Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire in the suspect’s unit that had caused extensive damage but prevented any spread to other units.