Fire chief: Being knifed “surreal”
The Denver official was attacked in his SUV on Tuesday.
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