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Nordstrom Rack hostage scene: Moviegoers wait hours in nearby theater

January 11, 2013 | 10:56 am

About 200 late-night moviegoers had to stay for hours past the credits while a hostage situation unfolded at a nearby Nordstrom Rack at the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center.

One moviegoer had an unspecified medical problem as patrons were told by police to stay in the theater. Authorities were able to remove him and provide medical attention.

"Because of the proximity to Nordstrom Rack, it was unsafe to move them," said Lt. Andrew Neiman of the Los Angeles Police Department.

It wasn't known Friday when the mall would be re-opened to the public. Two armed men held 14 Nordstrom Rack employees hostage beginning at 11 p.m. Thursday until the two men fled early Friday morning. Police entered the store at 3:30 a.m. and freed the 14 hostages.

A man identified as Brennan Erbz on Twitter said he had just finished watching “Gangster Squad” at the theater about 11:53 p.m. when he found he wasn’t allowed to leave.

“They shut down all the exits,” he tweeted.

Erbz tweeted a picture of people looking out a theater window toward a red neon Nordstrom Rack sign. It was unclear how long Erbz was in the theater.

Others, such as Simeon Campbell, took a more active approach. Campbell tweeted that he went to see a movie at 10 p.m. His first tweet regarding the lockdown came at 11:23 p.m. He tweeted at various news organizations that he was stuck in the movie theater on lockdown at the Promenade.

“I’m nervous and many other people are, too,” he tweeted at 12:53 a.m. to BuzzFeed. “Not much info is given, but there is a hostage situation. Movies are being replayed.”

Campbell said in his tweets that “Gangster Squad” and “Zero Dark Thirty” were among the movies playing, and people were getting annoyed and nervous as they waited.

“We are all waiting to hear gunshots,” he tweeted at 2:03 a.m. “But who knows. We are all on the edge of our seats. We have had enough.”

Campbell, who appears to work at the Promenade, was on lockdown until 3:47 a.m., when he tweeted, “I'm free 6 hours later from being on Lock down !!!!!”

ALSO:

Southbound 5 Freeway at Grapevine reopened

Taft classroom shooting: Stunned students get grief counseling

Nordstrom Rack hostages were employees, not customers, LAPD says

-- Frank Shyong in Westchester and Nicole Santa Cruz

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