UPDATED: Gunman found dead after pharmacy robbery, five-hour standoff in La Crescenta cell phone store

LA CRESCENTA — An armed robbery suspect was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after barricading himself inside a Foothill Boulevard cell phone store Friday, officials said.
The incident began shortly after 4 p.m. at a shopping center in the 2600 block of Foothill Boulevard, just east of Raymond Avenue.
A man in his 30s showed up at the Rite-Aid Pharmacy and asked for pills, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Burton Brink said. When the employees refused, he pulled a handgun and demanded pills.
The gunman fled the pharmacy with the pills, Brink said. It was not immediately clear what type of pills were taken, or how many.
But instead of attempting a getaway, the armed man ran into a nearby cell phone store,  ordered everyone out and the standoff began , the sergeant said. The store is labeled with “Verizon Wireless” signage, but Verizon officials said it was an affiliated retailer operating under the name “Connect Wireless.”
The standoff continued for more than five hours before the suspect was ultimately found dead.
Officials initially feared the gunman may have had hostages, but as the situation progressed, that did not appear to be the case, Brink said.
“He doesn’t have any employees,” Brink said shortly after 8 p.m. “We think there’s nobody (else) in there,” though he added deputies had not ruled out the possibility of any bystanders still inside the store.
Brink said he could not confirm initial reports from the scene that the man had taped a pistol to his hand.
The shopping center, which included a Ralphs grocery store and other businesses, was evacuated. Officials summoned a SWAT team and crisis negotiators to the scene.
Deputies made contact with the suspect by telephone. He told deputies at one point he would surrender after speaking to his mother. After he had done that, he told deputies he would surrender after smoking a cigarette.
But deputies entered the business shortly before 9:45 p.m. and found the man dead from a what was believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, sheriff’s officials said. His identity was not available.
No deputies fired their weapons during the incident, sheriff’s officials added.
Deputies from the Altadena, Temple and Santa Clarita Valley stations helped Crescenta Valley deputies, crisis negotiators and SWAT team members at the scene.

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