Victims Stabbed, Sexually Assaulted During L.A. Mall Hostage Situation

By Tony Guinyard and Jonathan Lloyd
|  Friday, Jan 11, 2013  |  Updated 10:33 AM EDT
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Victims Stabbed, Sexually Assaulted During L.A. Mall Hostage Situation

Los Angeles police officers patrol outside the Nordstrom Rack store in Westchester where a woman was being held hostage by a pair of armed men, according to authorities.

One person was sexually assaulted and another was stabbed in the neck during a hostage situation at a Los Angeles shopping mall that ended early Friday.

That hostage situation in a Nordstrom Rack store ended early Friday when a police SWAT team freed at least 14 people, hours after they were taken hostage by two gunmen and held in a storage area.

The hostages were being interviewed early Friday morning to determine what happened before 10 p.m. Thursday night, when LAPD officers from the Pacific Division received a 911 call from a man who said his girlfriend saw two armed men enter the store.

An officer on the scene then witnessed a man coming of the store who then ran back inside.

"That heightened officers' suspicion that something wasn't right," said LAPD spokesman Andy Neiman.

The officers later saw another man grab a woman, and he also and ran back into the store as well. That's when officers knew they had a possible robbery in progress and a tactical alert was issued. 

By 11:45 p.m., additional units were called to the scene, including LAPD SWAT officers who surrounded the Nordstrom Rack. A long search was conducted.

Shortly after 2:00 a.m., SWAT officers found 13 women and one man holed up inside a storage room and a bathroom. They were escorted out of the store and questioned by authorities. 

It is not clear what the men were armed with, police said. The promenade closes at 9 p.m. on Thursdays, according to its website.

 


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