Armed standoff in Bellevue shopping center ends peacefully

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- An hours-long armed standoff in a Bellevue parking lot ended peacefully Wednesday night when the gunman surrendered.

The tense standoff began sometime around 6 p.m. when King County sheriff's deputies spotted a wanted man near a shopping center in the 4800 block of Lakemont Blvd.

When deputies approached the 23-year-old Renton man in his parked car, he pulled out a handgun, put it to his mouth and threatened to kill himself, according to Cindi West with the King County sheriff's office.

West said the man was wanted in connection with a Monday night shooting in the Renton Highlands. The victim in that case was shot in the leg.

During the standoff, the man's girlfriend sat on the ground in between his car and the deputies. West said she didn't want to leave.

As the hours went by, deputies waited patiently as a hostage negotiator tried to get the man to surrender.

"We just want him to give himself up safely. We don't want him to hurt himself, but we're also concerned for our safety because he may turn the gun on us," West said.

When the chaos started, all of the businesses inside the center, including a Matthew's Thriftway grocery store, were put on lockdown with employees and customers inside.

Customers who were inside the grocery store were told via a loudspeaker that they couldn't leave. They were eventually led away from the front windows and let out the back of the store.