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Friday, March 21, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Suicide ends standoff at Lynnwood motel

Times Snohomish County bureau

An armed man wanted on murder charges ended a lengthy standoff with police yesterday when he committed suicide in a Lynnwood motel room, police said.

Officers from the Lynnwood Police Department, Snohomish County Sheriff's Office and the FBI tried for nearly 30 hours to persuade the man holed up in a room at the Extended StayAmerica motel to surrender.

Instead, the man killed himself with a shot to the head from a handgun shortly after 6 a.m. yesterday, said Trudy Dana, Lynnwood police crime-prevention officer.

The dead man was identified as Kevin Woo, 36, who was being sought on a federal murder warrant issued nearly six years ago in Nevada.

The confrontation with police at the motel on 196th Street Southwest just east of Interstate 5 began Tuesday night, when police tried to arrest Woo. He barricaded himself in a second-story room, police said.

Police were alerted to Woo's whereabouts earlier that evening after arresting his girlfriend, Kristine Sue Westin, on suspicion of shoplifting at the Lynnwood REI.

When police interviewed Westin, they learned she and Woo had been living at the motel for the past five months and were believed to have been supporting themselves through shoplifting and identity theft, Dana said.

Police had been negotiating with Woo by telephone until about 4:30 a.m. yesterday, said Lynnwood police Cmdr. Paul Watkins.

At that point, it appeared further negotiations were not going to be successful, said Dana, and Police Chief Steven Jensen ordered that chemicals be sprayed into the room to try to incapacitate Woo so he could be arrested. After the chemicals were injected under the door, Woo took his own life, Dana said.

Westin and Woo are suspects in the death of Westin's newborn son in a Las Vegas hotel in July 1997. Woo was believed to be the baby's father.

The baby was found in a hotel-room toilet; an autopsy showed the baby had been alive at birth and had drowned.

Second-degree murder warrants for Westin and Woo were issued in Clark County, Nev., in September 1997, and federal warrants seeking their arrest were issued about two weeks later.

Westin is being held in the Snohomish County Jail pending extradition proceedings to return her to Nevada.

Peyton Whitely: 206-464-2259 or pwhitely@seattletimes.com

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