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14 hostages freed from Nordstrom Rack department store

A hostage drama inside a Westchester department store ended Friday morning when 14 people were freed and armed robbery suspects escaped from a Nordstrom Rack, police said.

Two suspects entered the store around 11 p.m., and someone inside called police, according to police sources. Los Angeles Police Department SWAT officers arrived and surrounded the store, the sources said.

At one point, one of the suspects exited the store, saw police and ran back inside. A second suspect walked out with an unidentified woman, saw police and turned around back to the store, the sources said.

Officers entered the store at 3:30 a.m. and freed 14 people -- employees and possibly customers -- huddled in a storage room, the sources said.

The incident occurred at the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, near the 405 Freeway.

The LAPD had called a tactical alert and closed off the area around the shopping center.

KTLA said that two other hostages were found in a restroom.


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-- Andrew Blankstein

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