WESTCHESTER, Calif. (KTLA) — Police are searching for two armed robbers after an scary hostage situation at a Nordstrom Rack in Westchester.
It all started shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday, as employees were closing the store for the night.
The husband or boyfriend of a woman who works at the store called 911. She had called him to say that there were two men with guns inside the store.
When officers arrived at the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, they saw a black male coming out of the store, LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said.
They attempted to make contact with the man, and he looked at the officers and then ran back inside.
Moments later, they saw another man come out, accompanied by a woman.
“He then looked in the officers’ direction, grabbed that female and forced her back into the location,” Neiman said.
SWAT officers surrounded the shopping center and closed off the area.
After a couple hours, they were able to make entry into the store and found 14 hostages inside — 13 women and one man.
Many were forced into a storage room by the suspects, according to Neiman. A couple of other hostages were found hiding inside a bathroom.
At least one of the victims suffered a stab wound, but it was non-life-threatening, police said. That victim was treated and then released.
“There’s additional information that one of the victims was also sexually assaulted, and so that victim is being cared to at this time,” Neiman said.
Some of the other hostages were also pushed around and possibly pistol whipped, authorities said.
The movie theater at the shopping center was put on lockdown for more than six hours during the hostage situation.
There was a secondary crime scene at Washington Place and Glove Avenue in Culver City.
Culver City police located a vehicle that fit the description of a white SUV seen speeding away from the mall earlier.
Investigators are trying determine if the vehicle is connected to the armed robbery.
The area around the Howard Hughes Center remained shut down. Police said at 9 a.m. that they expected it to be closed about another five hours.