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Rodney Clavell had armed himself to "take police out", but in the end, South Australia's most wanted man shot himself dead in a brothel after a 13-hour siege that locked down much of central Adelaide.
Four distraught women had earlier emerged from the first floor of the King William Street building where Clavell had holed himself up from around 1am on Thursday.
The 46-year-old former prison guard had been on the run for more than a fortnight when police surrounded Marilyn's Studio and spent the next 13 hours calling for Clavell to give himself up and end the siege peacefully, saying they were there for the long haul.
After the last of the four women was released at around 11.30am, police heard no word from Clavell, so sent in a robot which located his body on the first floor.
Officers then entered the building and found Clavell at 1.40pm.
SA's Assistant Commissioner Paul Dickson said police believe Clavell shot himself with a gun that was found at the scene.
One of the distressed women said "I heard it" as she was being helped away from the building by police.
Mr Dickson said it was believed Clavell was alive when the women were released and, while he said police were unsure whether he knew the hostages, he suggested the fugitive was familiar with the brothel.
"The four females who were in that premises had a fairly harrowing experience, especially since one o'clock this morning and probably on previous occasions," he said.
"I believe he probably had some belief that he was relatively safe at those premises."
Four blocks south of Victoria Square were closed to trams, buses, cars and pedestrians, causing traffic disruptions and the closure of many businesses as heavily-armed police swarmed the area, while negotiators tried to contact Clavell.
"Since this incident occurred at one o'clock this morning we have had no direct communication with Mr Clavell," Mr Dickson said.
"All our communication with Mr Clavell has been through a third party."
On May 20, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Clavell, who had a long criminal history, over firearm matters.
Police warned he was dangerous and armed.
On Thursday, Mr Dickson revealed that Clavell also was wanted for other matters including the assault of a woman at gunpoint on May 25.
"Police had wanted a peaceful end to the siege, for the women that were inside the building, the community and for Clavell," Mr Dickson said.
"Our role in society is to look after the community and try and resolve things in a safe way.
"Mr Clavell was a member of our community and we treat him the same way as we treat everybody else."
Since the warrant was issued, police raided more than 80 premises and two schools were placed in lockdown for a short time when Clavell was spotted nearby.
Police would not comment on a report that a friend of Clavell's had said the fugitive had threatened to take police out.
The unnamed woman told the Adelaide Advertiser that she dropped Clavell off at the brothel and he was in possession of a .22 rifle and "at least 40 bullets".
"He thinks they have it in for him, he will take police out," she said.
"He knows he won't survive this alive today."
Where to get help:
- Youth services: (06) 3555 906
- Youthline: 0800 376 633
- Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (noon to midnight)
- Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (24-hour service)
- Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.