Fire chief: Stabbing was a 'surreal experience'

Posted at 2:39 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 22:18:41-05

Denver Fire Chief Eric Tade says he doesn’t know the woman who stabbed him, nor why she did it.

The chief, wearing a cast on his right hand and lower arm, said he was just leaving Station 1 when the suspect opened his passenger side door.  He said it caught him off guard when she jumped into his unmarked SUV and stabbed him.

“I pulled up to the light (at Colfax & Speer) and was making a phone call to a Division Chief about a fire prevention issue,” he said. “The last thing I remember was telling him, ‘hold on.’ That’s obviously when the stabbing occurred.”

Tade wouldn’t go into detail about the attack, saying police asked him not to.

He did say it was a surreal experience.

“The scariest thing was being trapped or being restrained while it was going on,” he said.

Investigators believe it was a random attack.

“Motive has been a big question among folks,” said Denver Police Department spokesman Doug Schepman. “At this time, it does not appear that Chief Tade was targeted because he was a fire chief or public safety official.”

Tade says his kids, who were on a field trip, rode by the fire station shortly after the assault.

“I was actually going to pick my kids up from school,” he said. “They happened to be travelling by on a school field trip from the Supreme Court.”

He said his kids told him they saw all the firefighters coming out of the station.

“You’re first reaction is, ‘No you didn’t,’ he said, “And then all the teachers said, ‘Yeah, we did. Was it around 1:30?’ ‘Yeah, well maybe you did.’ So it’s kind of ironic.”

Police arrested 42-year old Marlene Zacevich-Rodriguez.  She’s being held without bond for investigation of First Degree Assault.

Rodriguez’ son told Denver7 that him mom “hallucinates” and that he questions her sanity.

She’s due in court at 10 a.m. Thursday.


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