A tense three-hour armed standoff and hostage situation in north Spokane ended peacefully Thursday night.
Police responded to reports that Michael P. Wang, 32, was holding another man at gunpoint in a room at the Apple Tree Inn at 9508 N. Division Street just after 9 p.m.
Tommy Yoo, an Apple Tree general manager who was on duty, said police evacuated seven adjacent rooms and locked down the entire hotel. The displaced guests were calm, despite reports that Wang was attempting “suicide by cop” and was armed.
Everyone who was evacuated from their rooms gathered in the hotel lobby where staff distributed orange juice, milk and coffee. They also received a free night at the hotel, Yoo said.
“(When) he finally came out everyone in the lobby started clapping, saying good job to the police,” Yoo said.
None of the hotel guests checked out of their rooms that night, “no one complained, and no one left,” Yoo said.
The two men knew each other, although their exact relationship was unclear, according to a police news release. A woman who was in the room with the men called police. When officers arrived they were able to convince Wang to release the other man, who was subsequently arrested for violating a domestic violence order involving the woman. The man and the woman are dating, police spokeswoman Teresa Fuller said.
Yoo said the incident wasn’t really a hostage situation.
“It was more of a guy refusing to come out and saying he was going to commit suicide,” Yoo said. “I don’t think anyone was really being held in there by gunpoint.”
Police spent three hours negotiating with Wang who was armed and has two felony warrants for second degree theft. Wang threatened to commit “suicide by cop,” according to Yoo. There were more than 15 police vehicles at the hotel.
During the negotiations Wang told police he was bipolar and hadn’t been taking his medication. Wang also said he had cancer and that he had two children and didn’t want to go to jail, Yoo said. The police negotiator told Wang he was a good father and that his warrants weren’t worth losing his life and offered him food and cigarettes.
At one point Wang told police he was “saying goodbye” to his mother and friends via social media. Police asked Yoo to shut down the hotel’s internet service, which he did.
The room was not registered to Wang; instead he was visiting the couple. Yoo said when he entered the room after the standoff it was cluttered, but he didn’t see signs of drugs or damage.
Wang was booked into Spokane County Jail early Friday morning and was charged with three counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and three counts of possessing a stolen firearm.
Wang had a Ruger Blackhawk handgun, a Ruger Single Six handgun and an unknown .380 auto handgun. He also had a stolen Kestrel wind meter, a Vortex spotting scope and a camouflage backpack, according to court documents.
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