A 40-year-old man was fatally shot by police early Saturday at an apartment building in south Minneapolis after approaching two officers with a knife during a domestic assault call, police said.

About 2:15 a.m., a woman called police to report that somebody with a history of domestic violence was in an upstairs apartment at 3017 19th Av. S, police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer said. Others also called police about the situation, he said. During one call to police, someone in the apartment was heard to say, "Put down the knife!"

When they arrived, the four responding officers heard a woman screaming from the second-floor apartment, Palmer said. Denied entry to the apartment, the officers eventually forced their way in.

Immediately upon entering the apartment, in which they found several people, two of the officers were confronted by a man wielding a knife, Palmer said.

The man approached the officers, and after he refused to obey their orders to put down the knife, he was shot in self-defense, Palmer said. "Obviously not the outcome we like to have," Palmer said. But it was good, he said, that the woman and the officers weren't hurt.

The dead man's identity has not been officially released, but his former wife identified him as DelShawn Crawford Sr., formerly of Gary, Ind. He is the father of 15-year-old twin boys and had just finished a prison term for felony domestic assault-strangulation, she said.

The two officers who fired shots have been placed on standard paid administrative leave. One officer has 15 years of experience, the other four years.

Minneapolis homicide detectives and internal affairs officers worked at the scene most of Saturday in what Palmer called an intensive investigation.

Neighbor Francisco Baez, who lives across the street from the building where the shooting occurred, said he was awakened by about four gunshots. He got up to look out a window and saw police outside.

While walking home Friday night, Baez was taunted by a group of men standing in front of the residence, he said. But before this weekend, Baez said, he hadn't known of any safety issues on his block.

Last month, another knife-wielding man was shot by police in south Minneapolis. On April 1, Robert John Yellow Wolf confronted a panhandler and assaulted a former girlfriend, who then called 911, according to police. When officers arrived, Yellow Wolf refused to drop his knife and advanced toward an officer. The officer shot Yellow Wolf several times. Yellow Wolf, 43, of Minneapolis, suffered noncritical injuries.

Staff writer David Shaffer contributed to this report. Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495