DPD: Woman stabs Denver fire chief in his SUV

Posted at 2:01 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 06:37:12-05

Denver Fire Chief Eric Tade was stabbed in his vehicle while driving near the fire department headquarters Tuesday afternoon.

Police say 42-year-old Marlene Zacevich-Rodriguez jumped in his unmarked black SUV and began attacking him.

The woman's son talked to Denver7's Liz Gelardi on the phone. He said his mother was not right in the head and is known to hallucinate.

The stabbing happened near Colfax Avenue and Speer Boulevard around 1:30 p.m. Chief Tade jumped out of his car during the incident causing the vehicle to continue rolling down the street into traffic. 

“At that point, I was thinking you know that car ... there could be a collision," said Ed Orozco, who witnessed the incident. "Then a young man came in the car,  actually drove it to the side of the street, and got out casually and just walked away.”

Tade ran to the nearby fire station where his fellow firefighters tended to a stab wound on his hand and a small wound on his right leg. He was transported to Denver Health. According to department officials, his injuries were considered minor and he had left the hospital by Tuesday evening.

"We are really, really fortunate that these injuries were not more serious," said Melissa Taylor, with the Denver Fire Department.

Police do not have a motive for the stabbing. They are also working to determine whether or not the suspect and victim knew each other.

Witnesses who saw the event led police to the suspect. She's being held for investigation of aggravated assault. The D.A. will formally decide on charges.

Denver Police released a mug shot of Zacevich-Rodriguez from a 2009 DUI arrest on Tuesday night. A mug shot related to the stabbing hasn't been released. According to police records, she has a history of assault arrests. One of the more recent cases includes charges for false information and obstructing police.

No one else was in the chief's SUV at the time of the stabbing.

Tade, a second-generation Denver firefighter, has been with Denver Fire for 24 years. He was previously a Thornton city councilman.


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