QUINCY (CBS) – Witnesses who were close to a tense standoff in Quincy between police and an armed robbery suspect who stole a Rockland police car Friday morning described the scene as “absolutely nuts” and one that woke them up to “people screaming”.

According to police, a 36-year-old white male approached two workers at a convenience store in Rockland and showed them his handgun. The suspect then informed them they were being robbed and took $334.

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While police were trying to track him down, he stole an open police cruiser and took off, the D.A. said. The stolen cruiser later stopped on the Burgin Parkway in Quincy and was quickly surrounded by heavily armed police, but the suspect refused to get out and was able to get away again.

According to WBZ-TV’s I-Team, stop sticks were deployed to flatten the cruiser’s tires, and it stopped near BJ’s Gas Station on the parkway.

State Police tried to negotiate with the suspect as those near the gas station were directed by officers to remain away from the scene.

“It was nuts. Absolutely nuts,” said one witness.

Another witness told WBZ-TV, “I woke up to people screaming, and the street isn’t ever busy, and it was kind of gridlocked. And there was an officer running up and down the street saying, ‘Go to the right, go to the right’.”

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“[Police officers] told me to duck and cover,” a third unnamed witness said. “And I was like, ‘What?’ I didn’t think it was that bad and then I actually looked at it and saw it and I was like, ‘Ok, just going to stand back. [The officers] had him pinned in. They tried to talk to the guy. I could hear the guy say, ‘Come out and everything will be over. You’ll walk away.’ And I guess the guy didn’t want to walk away.”

As police tried to negotiate with the suspect, Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said the officers saw him holding a police rifle. After asking him to surrender the weapon, Morrissey said the suspect came out of the passenger seat with the gun.

A State Police Stop Team member then shot him. The man has since been pronounced died.

Witnesses who were forced to leave their cars at the gas station and run to safety were able to pick them up after the suspect was taken away.

“When I pulled up I heard the police officers down here on the SWAT vehicle and everything telling him the orders like ‘get out of the car’ and stuff like that,” said witness Mark Fernandez. “And out of nowhere, everyone’s like, ‘Yo, he’s down.’ Not like he’s down, but we knew kind of like he was down because they kind of swarmed in after him.”

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“The SWAT team just plowed right into him to hold him still and that was it,” witness Jason Dove said. “They told us to get out, get out of the area as fast as we could. We were hiding around the corner the whole time.”

CBSBoston.com Staff