Police shot dead a man who held six supermarket employees hostage during an attempted robbery yesterday in Urumqi , the capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region , state media said. Xiong Dali , an officer of the Urumqi Public Security Bureau, told Xinhua the man entered the supermarket on Xinfu Road at 12.30am, but refused to leave when the shop was about to close. 'At about 1am, when the man was told to leave again by the shop staff, he suddenly took out a 30cm-long knife and wielded it at the six saleswomen in the shop. He ordered them to kneel and hand over all their money and mobile phones,' Mr Xiong said. A hostage's mother who went to the shop to fetch her daughter witnessed the incident and called police, Xinhua reported. Police arrived and spoke to the suspect on the telephone. Four women managed to escape while the hostage taker was talking to police, Xinhua reported. The man then refused to speak to police, who then sent in a negotiator in an attempt to defuse the situation. The suspect then set free one of his female hostages. However, Xinhua said, the man became agitated and threatened the last hostage with his knife. He put towels on a table and threatened to burn the store and kill the hostage if police did not leave. But the siege ended almost 31/2 hours later when a police sniper shot the man dead. The hostage was uninjured but was suffering from shock. Police did not disclose whether the suspect was of Han or Uygur ethnic origin. However, Mr Xiong described the man as 'over 20 years old, medium height and a bit thin'. He said the man told the negotiator his name was Yang Xinjiang and born in Ili in northern Xinjiang. Police said they could not find any record of a Yang Xinjiang and were trying to identify the man formally. The supermarket remained closed yesterday.