Mall stores put on lockdown during hours-long police standoff

by: Chris Francis Updated:

BELLEVUE, Wash. —

King County Sheriff's Office detectives peacefully ended a four-hour standoff in a strip mall Wednesday night when they persuaded a 23-year-old suspect with a gun to surrender.

The standoff began around 6:15 p.m. when a detective spotted the suspect's silver Toyota in the mall parking lot.

Sgt. Cindi West of the Sherriff's Office told KIRO 7 the trouble started when the detective tried to arrest the man.

"One of our detectives identified herself and pulled her gun," said West. "He immediately pulled his weapon. She backed off and he pointed the gun in his mouth, is what I'm told."

Police quickly surrounded the suspect when he pulled his gun and cordoned off the area. They brought in negotiators to try to talk him into putting down the gun and surrendering.

For much of the standoff the suspect's girlfriend sat on the ground in the parking space next to his car. She was in the car with him for some time, then got out but didn't leave the scene.

West said the detectives' biggest worry was that the suspect would point the gun at officers and force them to shoot.

"We are concerned about officer safety, but it's something we do not want to do," she said.

Police have been looking for the Fairwood man since Monday. He was wanted in connection to a Renton Highlands shooting that left another man wounded.

While police negotiated with the man shoppers and employees at some of the stores in the strip mall were locked down. Some were on lockdown for more than three hours.

Police said they were never in danger.

"I saw all the guns and the SWAT team and I didn't know what was going on so I thought I should get in the store pretty quick," said Tammy White, who drove up just as the SWAT team was arriving. She left through a side door when her husband came to pick her up.

When the suspect finally surrendered around 10:15 p.m., he was checked by medical personnel and taken into custody.