MADISON, Wis. -

A woman shot herself on Madison's west side Tuesday afternoon six hours after police put out an alert for residents to avoid the area.

University of Wisconsin Police Department spokesman Marc Lovicott said S. Jean Gibson shot herself after she was found near Research Park Boulevard Tuesday in a wooded area with waist-high weeds.

A WISC-TV photographer at the scene said he heard a gunshot at about 3:30 p.m., just a few seconds after mounted police entered a wooded area where Gibson was hiding.

Lovicott said mounted police found Gibson, and they talked to her before she shot herself in the head. Gibson survived but suffered life-threatening injuries.

"It's a very thick, weedy area, about as high as your waist, and it was very hard for our K-9s, even the ATVs to get through the area," Lovicott said. "Obviously the horses sit much higher up and can see further in, further down into the brush area, so to my understanding that's when she was found. Officers actually found her, and that's the point she decided to fire the weapon."

At about 9:20 a.m. Tuesday, UWPD advised people to avoid the Research Park Boulevard area due to a report of a suicidal woman who was possibly armed. Police identified the woman as Gibson, who is in her 70s. Gibson claimed she had a gun and threatened to use it.

She was reportedly seen leaving the Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute & Clinics building Tuesday morning. Lovicott said Gibson was previously a patient at the clinic and was told not to return because she made threatening comments.

The WisPIC building was evacuated and all patient appointments at that building were canceled Tuesday, a UW Health spokeswoman said. The sleep clinic, which is also in the WisPIC building, reopened Tuesday at 6 p.m.