Armed with a rifle, a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department stands guard outside a La Crescenta Ralphs on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. Next to the grocery store, a man with a gun barricaded himself inside a Verizon Wireless.
Deputies on Saturday continued to investigate a five-hour standoff at a Crescenta Valley strip mall, which ended with the apparent suicide of the suspected robber during the Black Friday shopping frenzy.
The drama began Friday about 4 p.m. when an armed man barricaded himself inside a Connect Wireless store hours after he allegedly held up a Rite Aid pharmacist at gunpoint and demanded a prescription, authorities said.
The dead gunman's name had yet to be released.
The incident prompted the shutdown of surrounding streets and the evacuation of businesses.
Shoppers were seen running from a Rite Aid and Ralphs. A SWAT team was called in with an armored vehicle.
The owner of Connect Wireless told NBC4 that two of her employees were inside the store when the man entered and threatened to take them hostage, but the workers ran out the front door the first chance they got.
The man was reportedly armed with two guns and a knife.
Members of the gunman's family were brought in to help sheriff's crisis negotiators convince him to give himself up.
The SWAT team entered the store about 9:40 p.m. Friday and discovered the man had killed himself, said Sgt. Diane Hecht of the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau.
It was not immediately known how the man took his life. No shots were fired by sheriff's deputies, they said.
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