By CLAYTON SANDELL and LAUREN EFFRON
The gunman accused of taking three hostages inside a Denver 7-11 convenience store before he was shot by police has been identified as 34-year-old Blas Leroux, according to the Denver Police Department’s Twitter feed.
Leroux barricaded himself inside the store for about an hour Monday morning before emerging with a female hostage and using her as a human shield. According to police, the woman is a bakery delivery person who was making her usual stop at the 7-11.
After ignoring hostage negotiators’ demands for him to surrender, police said Leroux tried to pull the female hostage back into the store. That’s when a police officer fired, and the suspect went down.
“So out of fear for her safety… one of the officers fired a shot, striking an individual,” said Denver Police Department Chief Robert White.
The woman Leroux was holding hostage made a run for it and raced behind a SWAT team van, unharmed.
Police told ABC’s Denver affiliate KMGH that they weren’t yet sure what the suspect’s intentions were inside the store or how the hostage taking evolved.
“We heard a loud bang,” said witness Anthony Flores, “and saw the guy’s face just go back, like if there was a car accident and whiplash. After that, he didn’t move at all.”
As of this morning, Leroux was listed in critical condition at a local hospital.