Inquirer staff writer Barbara Boyer reports:

The gunman who held Philadelphia police at bay in West Philadelphia during an hour long standoff shot himself in the head and now has been pronounced dead.

Police blocked off a large area around Market and 45th Streets after the incident began about 11 a.m. when the man was involved in car accident on Chestnut Street. Police believe as the driver fled, he struck a parked car as he headed toward Market Street. At 46th and Market Streets, police said, he struck a pole.

Police patrolling the area immediately arrived on the scene and encountered the man, who got out of his vehicle, sat on the sidewalk and put the barrel of a handgun into his mouth, police said. Authorities immediately began securing a large area surrounding the intersection. Traffic was stopped in all directions as a SWAT team and negotiators rushed to the area.

For about one hour, negotiators tried to pursuade the gunman to surrender. Shortly after noon he shot himself in the head. The man was transported to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Police said the man was distraught for reasons beyond the earlier accident. Authorities were still trying to contact the man's family members.

Check back with philly.com later in the day for further details.

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