Athletes Hid During Armed Denver Standoff

While two accused hostage-takers negotiated their surrender during the Denver RadioShack standoff Friday, athletes taking shelter in a gym next door overheard the talks.


DENVER --

While two accused hostage-takers negotiated their surrender during the Denver RadioShack standoff Friday, athletes taking shelter in a gym next door overheard the talks.

Inside Edge MMA and Fitness, at 5305 East Colfax Ave., students were in the middle of training Friday and initially unaware of the drama playing out next door.

They couldn't hear the gunshots fired by at least one robbery suspect over the sound of people punching bags in the gym.

Outside, the area was quickly surrounded by SWAT snipers and soon the class came face-to-face with police.

"They told us to come in this room, shut the door, lock the door," said Andre Christy, a coach at Edge MMA Fitness.

Within minutes, police had cut the power.

"It's darkness, so we just start being quiet and listening," Christy said.

"When you put your ear up to the wall, you could hear it a lot better," said student Adam Satchell-Yellowhawk. "The walls are real thin and it was just echoing from the other side of the wall."

Just on the other side of that wall, Taveuan Williams, 19, and Micahel Annan, 23, were allegedly holding a RadioShack manager hostage after police showed up during a robbery in progress. Christy said he could hear the officers trying to talk the two gunmen down.

"Without being against that wall, we could hear the officer shouting," Christy said.

The standoff lasted six hours. The coaches and students had to wait it out.

Khadijah Samuels told 7NEWS she knows Taveuan Williams and called him several times during the standoff. She said 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."

Eventually, Christy said, the tenor of the talks between negotiators and the alleged hostage takers changed.

"At some point it switched," Christy said. "(I don't know) if it was a different officer, or a negotiator, but he was more calm, wanting him to know, 'You haven't gone too far. No one's injured, you have a lot to live for.' So the tone changed, but we were just down here trying to stay alive."

While he sat and listened inside the darkened gym, Christy said he wanted to help, but knew he couldn't.

"That's not what we train for here. It's self-defense and we're not heroes," he said. "We're glad that the heroes were here to take care of it."

Ultimately, Williams and Annan agreed to surrender.

"After six hours of negotiation, we convinced them to come out. No one was harmed," Denver Police Chief Robert White said after the standoff concluded. "It was a phenomenal job done by the men and women of our police department."

The RadioShack reopened Tuesday with the addition of a uniformed security guard. The company refused to discuss any other security preparations, but said the safety of customers and employees is a top priority.

Copyright 2012 by TheDenverChannel.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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