Bellevue police evacuated a furniture store and blocked busy Bel-Red Road during rush hour Thursday in a tense standoff with a suicidal man in a parking lot.
Officers had their guns drawn while negotiating with the man, who has a military background and just moved here a week ago from Oklahoma, said Bellevue Police spokeswoman Officer Carla Iafrate.
At about 5 p.m., the man started posting messages on his social networks, including Facebook, that he was going to kill himself, and two friends called Bellevue and Redmond police, Iafrate said.
Officers, including the SWAT team, found the man armed with a gun in the parking lot of a shopping center that houses and used to house the Uwajimaya Asian market, around Northeast 24th Street, Bel-Red Road and 156th Avenue. Police evacuated the Ethan Allen furniture store across the street as a precaution.
The man agreed to leave with police at 6:30 p.m. He was taken into protective custody and was to be taken to a hospital, Iafrate said.
The road was then reopened.