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Officers tried for nearly an hour to defuse hostage situation ahead of deadly shooting

One of the hostages suffered a stab wound to the chest, according to Denver Police.

DENVER — Denver Police officers worked for nearly an hour to bring a hostage situation to a peaceful conclusion before fatally shooting a man who was armed with a knife inside a northeast Denver home and holding two people hostage earlier this month.

About 8:30 p.m. May 1, Denver Police said, officers responded to a family disturbance in the 2000 block of North Oneida Street in the South Park Hill neighborhood.

"Throughout the interaction, the suspect seemed agitated and was often yelling while speaking," DPD commander Matt Clark said Wednesday. "At times he appeared to be yelling at the two individuals he was holding in the room."

DPD released a nearly hourlong clip of body camera footage. 

> The video below a portion of that body camera footage - showing the beginning of the interaction and what happened just before the shooting. Content Warning: The video shows a fatal shooting and may be disturbing to some viewers.

It shows that when officers arrived at the home, they were met by a woman outside who reported that the suspect was inside armed with a knife. She had called 911 and also reported that her nephew, 55-year-old Frankie Lee Evans, had used narcotics earlier in the evening.

The footage shows the woman handing an officer a key who used it to unlock a door and enter the home. Once inside, the officer encountered Evans and two people in a backroom. Evans, who was armed with a knife, slammed the bedroom door and refused to exit or allow those in the room with him to come out.

The officer, who had prior contact with Evans on April 14, repeatedly called him by name and asked him to talk with him and exit the room, but Evans refused. The officers were able to get verbal confirmation from both hostages that they were not physically hurt.

The officer told Evans they were there to help and asked what they could do to resolve the situation safely. At one point, the officer told Evans he hadn't done anything that he couldn't recover from.

A mental health clinician also responded and tried to speak with Evans, who refused to talk to her and only wanted to speak with the officers, the body camera footage shows.

They negotiated for nearly an hour before a scuffle was heard from inside, which resulted from the male victim's attempt to disarm Evans, Clark said.

At that time, the officers moved toward the bedroom door and kicked it open. Once it was open, Evans was seen with a knife struggling with the male victim in the room.

"The officers recognized that the male victim was attempting to hold or push the arm of the armed subject away from him to avoid being stabbed," Clark said. "The officers said they felt the male victim was in serious jeopardy of being injured or killed."

At that point, two DPD officer discharged their weapons, striking Evans multiple times. They fired a combined total of five rounds, Clark said.

"It's very quick, it's chaotic," Clark said. "They had to make some very quick analysis and decisions ... and when they feel it's safe and there's sufficient separation between the two subjects, the officers discharged their weapons. They were very intentional."

That stopped the assault, and neither of the hostages were hit by gunfire. Both were checked out at the scene, and the male victim was taken to hospital for treatment of a stab wound to the chest. He's since been released and is expected to recover, Clark said.

Evans was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both victims later reported that Evans was holding the knife throughout the entire incident and preventing them from leaving the room, Clark said.

The conflict which prompted the initial 911 call and hostage situation stemmed from an allegation of a previously unreported assault between the male and female hostages, Clark said. 

A separate investigation was launched into those allegations to determine if any charges might be warranted, he said. 

Both officers are on modified duty assignments, Clark said. One is a sergeant who's been with the department since 2013. The other is a patrol officer who's been with DPD since 2019.

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