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A shot kills suspect, ends standoff

Hostage-taker is gunned down by a police officer after a tense standoff
7-6-2007 Utah:

A man who was holding a woman hostage in her central Salt Lake City home was shot and killed by a police officer Friday afternoon.

Police identified the man as Steven Mark Sickler, a 45-year-old registered sex offender.

Spokesman Jeff Bedard said the man told responding officers he wanted to die at the hands of police and did not want to return to jail.

The Department of Corrections registry said Sickler, known by the alias "Sick," had felony convictions in 1982 for sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault.

Police said the suspect attempted to carjack a man outside his house, near 650 S. Park St. (540 East), about 12:20 p.m., but the man fought back. The would-be robber fled on foot after the struggle, running half a block to 700 South and then a block east to Green Street (650 East), where a neighbor spotted him outside his porch.

The neighbor, who asked not to be identified because of safety concerns, said he saw the suspect standing with his back to his front porch.

"He looked like he was stalking somebody," the witness said.

The man, who appeared in his 40s, then crouched down, and that's when a chrome-plated handgun he carried became visible, the neighbor said. The witness called 911 at 12:46 p.m. as the gunman ran around and entered the back door of a house at 672 S. Green St.

Police said the suspect took a woman and a man - whom neighbors described as a resident of the house and her boyfriend - hostage. At some point, the man ran out the back door, and the gunman held the woman by the neck and repeatedly pointed the weapon at her head, Bedard said.

An 11-year-old girl who witnessed the confrontation said police officers surrounded the house and urged the man to give himself up. The man opened and closed the back door several times during the standoff, which lasted about 30 minutes, the girl said.

"They were yelling at him to drop the weapon and release the hostage," said another witness, Jayme Chilbert.

Chilbert, who lives across the street, said she saw the hostage run from the back door and fall onto a grassy area behind the house. Then, she said, she heard a single shot.

Police said a Salt Lake City police officer fired once, killing the gunman about 1:20 p.m.

Police released few other details Friday.

The shooting was the seventh fatal killing of a suspect by Utah police so far this year, compared to four in all of 2006, according to Tribune records. ..more.. by Russ Rizzo, The Salt Lake Tribune

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