Los Angeles County sheriff's officials believe the man took his own life because they said deputies didn't fire any shots.
Around 4 p.m., calls came into the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station about a man with a gun at the Marketplace Shopping Center in the 2600 block of Foothill Boulevard. Sheriff's officials said the gunman targeted Rite Aid first, demanding a prescription. They said when the pharmacy employee said "no," he pulled out a gun and ran off with the drug.
Sgt. Burton Brink with the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station said the suspect was still armed when he went into the Connect Wireless store, ordered everybody out and barricaded himself inside the business. One witness passed the store and felt the employees' terror.
"They were kind of yelling in panic, 'don't go in there, don't go in there,' and they were locking it up," said Ashley Dean of La Crescenta.
The incident prompted evacuations of the surrounding stores in the shopping center. Many people were also ordered to shelter in place.
During all the commotion, one teenager said he called the store directly with the gunman answering the phone.
"Is there any way I can come in, and he's like, 'Dude, I got a gun, and the place is held up. All the shopping areas are cleared out,' and I'm like oh, OK," said Ryan Kacer of Tujunga.
Before the call ended, the gunman allegedly said he had "been working on this" and that he "wanted to come out alive," according to Kacer.
Crisis negotiators were on scene, trying to establish communication with the gunman. At approximately 9:30 p.m., SWAT team members with body armor entered the store and found the suspect deceased. His name has not been released. Authorities have not said how he died.
CORRECTION: It was initally reported that the suspect barricaded himself inside a Verizon Wireless store. Eyewitness News has since learned that the suspect was barricaded inside Connect Wireless, a contract third-party store that sells Verizon Wireless merchandise.