LOS ANGELES (AP) — Employees were closing up at a mall department store and preparing to go home when two gunmen stormed inside and took them hostage.
The thugs stabbed one of the 14 Nordstrom Rack employees and sexually assaulted another before SWAT officers freed everyone early Friday, more than three hours after the ordeal began.
Nordstrom spokeswoman Tara Darrow said the gunmen did commit a robbery before fleeing the store near Los Angeles International Airport. Both remained at large. She declined to describe what was stolen.
The harrowing incident began about 11 p.m. Thursday, when a man reported his girlfriend had called to say gunmen were in the store, Los Angeles police Lt. Andy Neiman said.
"She told him: 'Call 911. Two guys with guns just came into our store,'" Neiman said.
Police officers and SWAT team members swarmed the outdoor shopping center that also has restaurants and a theater. The officers saw a man leave the second-floor store, but he ran back in, Neiman said.
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