(LOS ANGELES) — Los Angeles cops are on the hunt for two suspects who held 14 people hostage at gunpoint at a Nordstrom’s store late Thursday night, but vanished as police surrounded the store and shopping center.
Police received a call shortly after 11 p.m. alerting them that there were gunmen in the Nordstrom Rack store at the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, in Westchester, Calif., officers said Friday.
By the time police arrived, one suspect could be seen outside the store but he quickly slipped inside, according to Lt. Steve Lurie of the Los Angeles Police Department.
“The first officer who arrived saw at least one suspect, but he disappeared inside the store when police got there,” Lurie said.
Police surrounded the store and shopping area. After 45 minutes, the SWAT team from the LAPD entered into the store and found 13 women and one man in the store room and bathroom of the store, according to police.
The suspects had already fled the premises, police believe.
One of the hostages had been stabbed and another had been sexually assaulted during the robbery, according to Lurie. Both individuals were taken to a nearby hospital.
Police in Culver City, Calif., found an empty white SUV that they believe is connected to the crime.
“We are searching the area for suspects,” Officer Chris No of the LAPD said.
Police are focusing on two locations in the city for the two suspects, but would give no further details.
Police did not know if money or merchandise was taken from the store.
The movie theater at the Promenade shopping complex was put on lockdown during the hostage situation and patrons were held there for more than six hours, according to ABC News station KABC. They were allowed to watch free movies during the incident.
“It was just like shocking, because you come out and they’re like, ‘Uh, you can’t leave to your cars because if you go outside, there’s a possibility you’re going to get shot because they have high-powered rifles at Nordstroms,'” moviegoer Logan Kelly told KABC.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire