KIRKLAND, Wash. — A hostage and possible bomb situation at a 76 gas station held up traffic near the Kirkland Costco for hours Sunday afternoon as police diffused a tense situation.
The gas station is at 11848 Northeast 85th Street in Kirkland, Wash. Sunday afternoon.
Witnesses on scene at first thought it was a robbery gone wrong but police say it's not clear what the motive is for the threats.
The man arrested for holding a clerk hostage and threatening he had a bomb is identified in court documents as Mark Van-Noy Nelson, 20, of Newcastle.
KIRO 7 Eastside Reporter Alison Grande was in court and has new details about what lead up to the incident. She’s working on the story for KIRO 7 News at 5 p.m.
Officers surrounded the 76 with assault rifles drawn.
Kirkland Lieutenant Rob Saloum said what brought them there, was the suspect calling 911 from inside the store.
“A male, about 21 years old, said he had a bomb on him,” Saloum said.
He says the suspect told a female clerk inside that if she left, he would detonate the bomb.
“The suspect didn't want the female to leave,” Saloum said.
Saloum says a sergeant kept the suspect talking and got him to leave the store peacefully.
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Several witnesses shared cellphone video with KIRO7. It shows the suspect walking out, at first with his hands down by his sides. His hostage - a woman in her 50's - runs out behind him
“She looked terrified and got out of the way as fast as she could,” said Geraldo Cruzado, a witness.
“She runs out the back side of the building over there. He raises his hands, dropped his gun, and started backing up. He went down peacefully,” said Nicholas Stratton, a witness who works nearby.
Kirkland Police say what the suspect sets down was not a gun, but a cell phone.
The video then shows officers commanding the suspect to get on the ground. He kneels down, then lays on his stomach, and armed officers run towards him.
They eventually arrest him without further incident.
Stratton says stops at the 76 nearly every day and knows the woman held hostage.
“She’s very nice, she's one of the sweetest ladies you'll ever meet. So I’m glad she was okay,” he said.
Police say the suspect also claimed there was a bomb at the Church of Scientology in Seattle in the 300 blk. of W. Harrison.
Seattle police at last check were searching that area.
Kirkland police say this case is unusual.
“It’s just a very bizarre situation. We have somebody randomly walking into a business, stating they have a bomb, comes out without any bomb a very short time after making that threat, which usually is not the case,” Saloum said.
The suspect did not have any weapons and told officers he picked the 76 location at random.
Police say they're not sure at this time if the suspect had any mental health issues.
Investigators are still looking into the motive.
Charges will come from a prosecutor, but potential charges include making threats to bomb and unlawful imprisonment.
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