Nordstrom Rack hostages were employees, not customers, LAPD says
The 14 hostages held overnight at Nordstrom Rack in Westchester were all employees of the store, LAPD officials said Friday.
At least three hostages were injured, including one woman who was sexually assaulted, in the incident that began at 11 p.m. Thursday. Another woman was stabbed in the neck with non-life threatening injuries and a third employee was pistol-whipped, police said.
It was unclear whether the two suspects hid in the store or somehow gained entrance after it closed.
At least two employees hid in the restroom. The rest of the group was herded into a storage room by the suspects, except for one woman who was taken separately and sexually assaulted, police said.
Police were in the process Friday morning of debriefing the hostages and putting together composite drawings of the suspects. In addition, they were scouring surveillance video from inside and outside the Nordstrom Rack, surrounding businesses and the mall to determine whether any additional suspects were involved.
When the Los Angeles Police Department's SWAT officers arrived Thursday night, they surrounded the store. At one point, one of the suspects left the store, saw police and ran back inside.
A second suspect walked out with an unidentified woman, saw police and headed back inside. The officers entered the store at 3:30 a.m. and freed the 14 hostages.
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.
-- Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein