Denver police commander on officers who killed a man Saturday: “Literally, their backs were against the wall.”

Denver police officials described an intense scene at 8 Fox Street early Saturday morning before an officer shot and killed Terry Salazar.
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Denver police officials described an intense scene in the second story of 8 Fox Street early Saturday morning before an officer shot and killed 49-year-old Terry Salazar.

"Literally, their backs were against the wall," Denver police Commander Barb Archer said at a press conference Monday.

Archer said police arrived at the house around 2:45 a.m. in response to a call from a woman who said there was a man causing a disturbance and that he had several warrants. When police arrived, the man came outside, saw the officers and quickly ran inside and upstairs.

Archer said police heard a woman scream from the upstairs room, and when they went into the room, Salazar was holding a six-inch hunting knife and making "slashing motions" in the officers' direction.

Archer said the officers tried to back up, told Salazar to drop the knife and deployed "less lethal means," but when none of those worked, one of the officers fired "several shots" at Salazar and killed him.

Salazar's identity was released Monday afternoon by the Office of the Medical Examiner, which ruled the death a homicide by gunshot wounds.

Archer said Salazar had a number of outstanding felony warrants but declined to provide details.

Colorado court records show two open warrants for failure to appear on charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

Salazar's criminal history goes back to 1986 and includes accusations of burglary and assault, though the most serious charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to three years in 2006 for felony menacing and to another five years in 2009 for the same offense.

After police killed Salazar, another man approached officers on the scene to say that Salazar had stabbed him, Archer said.

Archer said several witnesses told police that Salazar had said he would not go back to prison.

The officer, whose name has not yet been released, has been on the force three years, Archer said. He is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the shooting. That's standard procedure.

Archer said the woman in the room, who was not the same woman who called police, was not injured. Another man in the room crawled out the window and onto the roof, where he was later arrested.

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