Fire chief: Be­ing knifed “sur­real”

The Den­ver of­fi­cial was at­tacked in his SUV on Tues­day.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Natalie Mu­nio and Jesse Paul The Den­ver Post Jesse Paul: 303-954-1733, jpaul@den­ver­post.com or @JesseAPaul

Den­ver Fire Chief Eric Tade stood out­side his sta­tion Wed­nes­day and talked about what it was like to be stabbed in a ran­dom at­tack the day be­fore.

“It was a very sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence — the scari­est part was be­ing trapped and re­strained in the car,” he said at the news con­fer­ence.

Den­ver po­lice say the woman ac­cused of stab­bing Den­ver’s top fire­fighter Tues­day af­ter­noon had no con­nec­tion to him.

Mar­lene Zace­vich-Ro­driguez, 42, al­legedly pulled open the front pas­sen­ger door of Tade’s un­marked, city-owned SUV and stabbed him mul­ti­ple times, ac­cord­ing to a prob­a­ble-cause af­fi­davit.

Zace­vich-Ro­driguez then walked away from the at­tack with the knife still in her hand, wit­nesses told po­lice.

Tade hopped out of the ve­hi­cle dur­ing the strug­gle, leav­ing the Ford Ex­plorer slowly rolling down the street with no one in­side.

Of­fi­cers ar­rested Zace­vich-Ro­driguez even be­fore paramedics be­gan tend­ing to Tade, ac­cord­ing to ra­dio traf­fic. She hadn’t trav­eled far from the in­ter­sec­tion of West Col­fax Av­enue and Speer Boule­vard, where the stab­bing oc­curred.

Tade, who was taken to Den­ver Health in fair con­di­tion with wounds to his hand and leg, was re­leased Tues­day evening and back at work Wed­nes­day.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors say they do not be­lieve Tade was tar­geted be­cause of his job as fire chief or a pub­lic safety of­fi­cial, but that the at­tack was ran­dom and un­pro­voked.

“In­ves­ti­ga­tors are still work­ing on the case,” po­lice spokesman Doug Schep­man said.

Zace­vich-Ro­driguez is be­ing held at Den­ver’s down­town jail with­out bond. She is sus­pected of ag­gra­vated as­sault and is due in court Thurs­day morn­ing.

Zace­vich-Ro­driguez has a crim­i­nal record in Colorado dat­ing to 1995 that in­cludes ar­rests on sus­pi­cion of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, as­sault and dis­turb­ing the peace.

Dur­ing the news con­fer­ence, Tade said that in a strange twist, his chil­dren’s school bus passed by the fire sta­tion on the way back from a field trip to the state Capi­tol just af­ter the in­ci­dent took place.

He was on his way to pick up his kids from school when he was at­tacked.

Fire Chief Eric Tade speaks at the news con­fer­ence. Ken­neth D. Lyons, The Den­ver Post

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