Suspected gunman not found at surrounded apartment

SEATTLE -- An hours-long standoff between a Seattle Police SWAT team force and an armed 26-year-old man wanted for pointing a gun at a cab driver ended late Tuesday morning when it was discovered the man was no longer inside.

The cab driver said a woman had hired his cab to go from Shoreline to North Seattle just after 3 a.m. but when they arrived, she claimed her boyfriend was supposed to pay the $37 fare. But when she couldn't reach him on the phone, she said she would go inside and fetch him.

"I held her coat as ransom, so I'd get paid," Scott Nilsen told KOMO News. "And the next thing I know, he came out with a gun, demanded the coat and took the coat."

Nilsen asked the man if he was going to pay him.

"He had some choice words about that, pointed the gun at me again and went back into the apartment building," Nilsen said. He was not hurt.

Police arrived a short time later and surrounded the building near N. 140th Street and Aurora Avenue North and the standoff began.

The man's 22-year-old girlfriend was arrested a short time later and was brought out of the home in handcuffs. Police were able to make cell phone contact with the man early on, but since then, the man didn't answer his phone or respond to their commands over loudspeaker.

Just after 10:30 a.m., police said they went into the apartment but the man was not inside. They now believe the man slipped out as officers were setting up their containment.

Police say they don't know where he is; they presume he is armed and on the loose somewhere.

The man is known to police and has a prior record, officials said. His name has not been released.

The woman has been booked into the King County Jail for investigation of theft.