Body cam shows Denver police shoot and kills suspect when he holds a family hostage with knife

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The Denver Police Department put two officers on "modified duty" after they fatally shot a man May 1 after an hour-long standoff. The man had two people with him in a bedroom while armed with a knife, and two police officers went into the room when they heard a woman shouting “Stop!”

Major Crimes Division Cmdr. Matt Clark said in a news conference Wednesday that Denver’s 911 dispatch received a call around 8:30 p.m. from a woman living in the 2000 block of North Oneida Street, who said her nephew — identified by police as Frankie Lee Evans, 55 — was inside with two other people, a man and a woman, and was trying to stab someone. The man is Evans’ uncle and the woman has no relation to him, Clark said.

He said the incident appeared to escalate from an allegation of a previous assault between the man and woman in the room with Evans.

An officer arrived at the residence three minutes after the woman’s call to 911, and EMS and fire department responders arrived three minutes after that. Members of the department’s Metro SWAT unit also came to the scene, Clark said.

The caller gave officers a key to get into the house. Body-worn camera footage shows a man looking out of a bedroom door, and it quickly shut when officers went in. A man can be heard shouting, “I have hostages!”

The officers chose not to try to force entry to the bedroom in an effort to avoid escalating the situation, Clark said. At one point, a woman can be heard shouting at the officers not to go into the bedroom.

A mental health clinician working for the police department tried to talk with Evans, Clark said, but he refused and would only talk to officers.

In the last few minutes of the standoff leading up to the shooting, the camera footage shows one officer apparently trying to call the woman’s .

Toward the end of the standoff, two officers decided to go into the bedroom because they heard a sudden commotion, the woman shouting “Stop!” Clark said. They saw Evans apparently trying to stab the man, and later learned the escalation in the moments before came from the man trying to get the knife away from Evans.

The video shows the officers telling Evans to drop the knife after they go into the room, and the first shot comes about two seconds later. About seven seconds pass between the officers starting to go into the bedroom and the shooting. The video shows the officers beginning to shoot when Evans still appears to be wrestling with the man.

But Clark said the officers believed there was enough space between Evans and the man by the time they began firing to give them a clear path for their shots.

“It's chaotic. There's a lot going on. This is a room that they hadn't been introduced to before. So everything is new to them at that point. They had to make some very quick analysis and decisions regarding that," he said.

Clark did not name the officers, but said one is a sergeant who has worked for the department since 2013 and the other is a patrol officer with the department since 2019.

The incident lasted about an hour, between the first call to 911 and the officers shooting Evans.

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