A man being held hostage for at least six hours inside an east Denver RadioShack has been released and two suspects have been arrested, police said.
RadioShack store manager Chris Nimerfroh, 28, was caught up in an attempted robbery Friday morning.
Denver Police Chief Robert White said police received a call of an armed robbery at 9:48 a.m. at the RadioShack at Colfax Avenue and Glencoe Street.
Patrol officers responded swiftly, White said and, "they got there before the robbers exited the store."
The robbers then took Nimerfroh hostage and refused to leave the store, White said.
At one point, the chief said, "the suspect or suspects fired several shots. Fortunately … no one was harmed."
The SWAT team and a Crisis Negotiation Team were called to the scene.
"After six hours of negotiation, we convinced them to come out. No one was harmed," said Denver Police Chief Robert White. "It was a phenomenal job done by the men and women of our police department."
Nimerfroh was released "absolutely unharmed," White said.
The hostage's parents, Melissa and Scott Nimerfroh, were able to briefly hug their freed son and tell him they loved him before after he was taken to a police debriefing.
Melissa Nimerfroh said her son told her a gun was held to his head during much of the ordeal.
"He said that he thought he was gone," the mother told 7NEWS reporter Amanda Kost. "He just prayed real hard. He kept (saying) over and over he just wanted to see his (5-year-old) son."
<h3>Suspected Gunmen Talked To Friends, Posted To Facebook</h3>
Khadijah Samuels told 7NEWS she knows one suspected gunman, who she identified as 19-year-old Taveuan Williams.
Friends and family members of Williams said he was worried he would be shot by a police officer if he left the store.
Samuels said she had called Williams several times. Williams told her he was terrified and had been posting messages to Facebook asking friends to call him and say their last goodbyes.
One post said, "Swear to God, I'm gonna die."
<ibs_img src="/2012/0907/31418969_240X180.jpg" width="240" height="180" align="right" alt="" id="31418969" type="photo" border="0" hspace="10" vspace="5" ></ibs_img>
"I told him to just come out, and he said, 'I'm not coming out,'" Samuels said.
"He was just crying and screaming," said friend Keisha Bradley, who also talked to the gunman.
Bradley said she pleaded with Williams to come out of the store. She said his reply was, "I can't. I can't."
White said police spoke with family members of hostage and the suspects during the standoff.
The chief said police assured family members "that our primary responsibility and our goal was for the safety of the hostage, the safety of the residents that lived in this area and certainly the safety of the suspects."
White said negotiators assured the suspects "that if they came out, unarmed, that we would safely secure them."
Williams is just 19 years old, but in the past year he's had eight arrests and two felony convictions, according to arrest and court records. His arrests include aggravated motor vehicle theft, theft, larceny, identity theft and probation violation. He also has three arrests for obstructing or interfering with police.
In November 2011, Williams was arrested in Denver on theft and aggravated motor vehicle theft charges, according to court records.
He pleaded guilty to aggravated motor vehicle theft and was sentenced on June 21 to one year in the state Department of Corrections and one year on parole. But a judge suspended the prison sentence if Williams successfully completes three years probation.
The RadioShack standoff could send Williams to prison for violating probation.
On Jan. 29, he was arrested in a theft case in Arapahoe County. He pleaded guilty to felony theft and was sentenced on Feb. 17 to two years probation and given credit for 20 days served in jail, according to court records.
According to the prep sports website co.milesplit.com, Williams was running track in 2010 at Ridge View Youth Services Center, a state-owned, privately operated juvenile correctional program and school in Watkins, Colo. A juvenile has to be sentenced for a criminal offense to be placed in the facility.
<ibs_img src="/2012/0908/31419897_240X180.jpg" width="240" height="180" align="left" alt="" id="31419897" type="photo" border="0" hspace="10" vspace="5" ></ibs_img>The second suspect was identified Friday night as 23-year-old Micahel Annan. Public records show he has prior convictions for robbery, burglary, motor theft and escape.
Both suspects will make their first appearances in court Saturday at 10 a.m.
<h3>Neighborhood On Edge During Standoff</h3>
Nearby businesses were evacuated during the standoff.
Rosanna Griffin, who owns Athena’s Closet, told 7NEWS she heard some noises coming from the RadioShack and knew something was wrong when she saw police outside with their guns drawn, aiming at the building.
Griffin said she took refuge in a safe room in her business.
"Very soon after that the police knocked on the door and escorted me out of the building," she said. "They just told me they had an armed gunman in RadioShack and I've just been told recently they're … negotiating to get the hostages out."
She added this isn't the first time there's been a robbery at RadioShack.
"I think RadioShack is a magnet for trouble," Griffin said, "And I think maybe their corporate office needs to address this issue."
Eastbound traffic along Colfax was diverted at Elm Street. Glencoe was closed between 16th Avenue and Colfax.
Denver public schools placed four nearby schools on lockdown for much of the day. DPS spokeswoman Kristy Armstrong said the schools individually decided to lift the lockdowns early after hearing it was safe to do so from police.
A RadioShack spokesperson said the company was "praying for a safe resolution" but declined further comment.
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