A KOMO News crew at the scene said the woman was able to run out of the gas station where she was held hostage, accompanied by two officers - and into the waiting arms of family members.
Police and SWAT team officers had earlier surrounded a gas station in Tumwater where a man armed with a gun had been holding a female store clerk hostage since Sunday morning.
Officers rushed to the scene, the USA gas station at 701 Trosper Road, at about 9:30 a.m. Sunday after receiving reports of a man entering the gas station with a weapon and taking hostages, said Detective Jennifer Kolb of the Tumwater police.
Arriving at the scene, police learned that James Wood, 50, of Olympia went into the gas station where his longtime former girlfriend was working as a clerk. Wood pulled out a gun and told another employee who was there to leave.
"In the process he held a gun to the two employees, had one of them leave, told her to not let anybody else in - and that he just wanted to talk to his girlfriend," Kolb said.
The employee who left then called 911.
Meanwhile, the ex-girlfriend called police from inside the gas station. She said she and her ex-boyfriend are locked in an office in the back and asked for help.
As of 5 p.m. Sunday, Wood was still holed up with his ex-girlfriend at the gas station, but remained in communication with negotiators, saying he needs still more time.
Then, at about 6:30 p.m., the woman was able to run out of the building. Officers rushed to the suspect, wrestled him to the ground and handcuffed him.
Before the incident, the former girlfriend, 42, of Olympia had taken out a restraining order against Wood. The two formerly had been together for 15 to 20 years but are not currently together.
Cassie Moore was nearby when she saw officers arriving at the gas station. She says her mom is friends with the hostage victim and she knows Wood.
"I never thought he would do something this bad," she said. "It's hard to see all these people watching when I know the people in there, and I don't think they think really how bad it is."
She says Wood and his former girlfriend had a "rocky relationship" before breaking up.
Police closed a nearby intersection during the armed standoff, along with the nearest ramps to Interstate 5.