Woman held captive in Nordstrom Rack raped 'multiple times'
Prosecutors said one of the five people charged in connection with the take-over robbery at a Nordstrom Rack department store in Westchester raped one of the female hostages.
Prosecutors offered no details. But a district attorney's office spokeswoman said the victim was sexually assaulted "multiple times."
Raymond Sherman Jr., 34, who authorities said was the most violent in the group, was charged with two counts of forcible rape, one count of oral copulation, one count of kidnapping for rape, one count of assault with a deadly weapon and 14 counts of second-degree robbery.
Troy Marsay Hammock, 29, and Everett Oneal Allen, 24, face 14 counts each of second-degree robbery and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon, identified as a knife, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
Rochelle Monique Sherman, 33; and Paula Roneshia Bradley, 29, were charged with one count each of accessory after the fact.
The complaint also alleges Sherman, who is awaiting extradition from Phoenix, where he was arrested Saturday, used a handgun in the commission of the crimes.
Police have not detailed the roles of the suspects in the robbery and hostage situation. But those in law enforcement familiar with the investigation said there is strong evidence linking the crimes to those charged, including physical evidence and security video.
The incident began about 11 p.m. Thursday at the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, near the 405 Freeway. Sherman, Hammock and Allen allegedly confronted the employees as they were leaving the store, which had just closed.
As the incident was unfolding, one of the employees called her husband and told him to call 911. The LAPD called a tactical alert and closed off the area around the shopping center. When the police department's SWAT officers arrived, they surrounded the store.
At one point, one of the suspected burglars exited, saw the police and ran back inside. A second suspected burglar walked out with an unidentified woman, saw police and also headed back inside. The officers entered the store at 3:30 a.m. and freed the captives.
At least three of the employees were injured, including at least one woman who was sexually assaulted. Another woman was stabbed in the neck and sustained non-life-threatening injuries, and a third employee was pistol-whipped, police said. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck praised the employees for their bravery and composure.
Beck would not discuss whether the robbers hid in the store or gained entrance after it closed. Nor would he say how long they remained in the store before fleeing in a white SUV, or discuss how much cash was taken in the robbery.
Photo: Police officers stand outside Nordstrom Rack in Westchester following take-over style robbery. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times