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Suicide by cop? Denver cop shoots man who attacked squad car with hammer (VIDEO)

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The term "suicide by cop" has become a well-known phrase among fans of TV police procedurals and the like.

And at this point, an officer-involved shooting that took place yesterday afternoon near a Kmart on West Evans appears to be an extremely literal example of the phenomenon.

The first official communication about the incident came via the Denver Police Department's Twitter feed, in a message that gave only the barest hint about what went down.

BREAKING: DPD investigating an officer involved shooting - suspect critical, officer ok (Evans and Feral)
Dec 04 via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

As for the details, DPD spokeswoman Vicki Ferrari -- a former American Gladiator contestant who prevailed in an excessive force lawsuit against her earlier this year -- told 9News that a cop was parked near the Kmart doing paperwork when a man suddenly attacked with a hammer, smashing the window of the squad car and spraying the officer with broken glass.

The cop responded by opening fire, squeezing off five shots in the direction of the man, who was struck several times. He was transported to Denver Health where, at last report, he was in critical condition.

What the hell was the guy doing? Officers at the scene reportedly found an apparent suicide note in the man's pocket. Also located: a rental truck he'd been driving, with a machete inside.

At this writing, neither the man nor the officer who shot him have been identified. The investigation continues -- and it's likely to get even weirder.

Look below to see a 9News report on the incident.

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More from our Follow That Story archive: "Alfred Vigil ID'd as man who died in alleged suicide-by-cop shooting on Morrison Road."

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