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Man Dies After Clash With Police at Denver Zoo

DENVER --

A man died while being subdued by police at the Denver Zoo after a violent clash with officers and zoo security guards on Monday, police said.

The incident began about 5 p.m. when two security guards tried to intervene in a domestic violence conflict between the man and a woman outside the elephant house, said Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson.

Suddenly, the man was fighting and biting the security guards, Jackson said. Police were called.

The man also assaulted and bit arriving officers, he said.

The AirTracker7 helicopter camera showed officers restraining the man on the ground. A couple of women and a child stood nearby watching.

Officers were able to subdue the man, Jackson said, but "a short time later, he stopped breathing. Officers immediately started CPR on the suspect."

Jackson could not confirm reports that police used a Taser stun gun to subdue the man.

Paramedics arrived and transported the man to Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead just after 6 p.m., Jackson said.

The Denver coroner will conduct an autopsy to determine how the man died, Jackson said. The man's name was not released.

Two security guards suffered minor injuries, Jackson said. One was treated at a hospital, the other was treated at the scene.

Two police officers were treated for minor injuries at the scene, he added.

AirTracker7 showed 17 patrol cars and a fire engine responded to the zoo.

The violent confrontation stunned people who had been enjoying a sunny afternoon at the zoo.

"All of a sudden we're walking around and there was cops," Jhoselyne Canales told 7NEWS.

"It's kind of scary, actually. Scary, because you don't know whose going to go crazy or what's going to happen," she said.

Another zoo visitor, Dan Frederick, said: "It's not every day you see this, 17 (police) cars. That's what I counted."

"They had the police line roped off, and there was an ambulance over there," he said.

Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal responded to the zoo, along with police detectives and crime-scene investigators, Jackson said.

"I was called out to the scene of an in-custody death, and I'm monitoring it now," Rosenthal said.

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