According to the Los Angeles Police Department, two gunmen entered the Los Angeles Nordstrom Rack late Thursday night, and held detainees in a storage room for hours. A total of 14 employees were held captive. Additionally, the gunmen sexually assaulted one and stabbed another. Once police entered the store, shortly after 2 a.m. on Friday morning, the gunmen had left the store. LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Andy Neiman, said that the armed invasion at Nordstrom Rack at the Promenade at HowardHughesCenter in the middle-class district of Westchester in Los Angeles was treated as a robbery. What remains unclear is if the suspects escaped with any cash since police could not immediately say if the suspects had stormed the store or had were hiding and emerged after the store had closed. This incident is of interest since the HowardHughesCenter is located in a nice neighborhood, is home to an outdoor shopping center with many stores and restaurants, and is next to the 405 Freeway.
Neiman said that police learned about the incident through a phone call placed by a Nordstrom’s employee to a loved one who indicated that he should contact police because two armed gunmen were in the store after hours. When police arrived around 11 p.m. officers witnessed a man come out of the store and run back inside. Shortly afterward, they saw another man leaving the store with a woman but upon seeing police he retreated back inside forcing the woman to back in with him. Officers became concerned about the hostage situation and thus called police SWAT team. After three hours the SWAT team entered the store and found employees locked in the storage room and the bathroom, police said.
It still remains unclear how the suspects evaded SWAT and police outside the store. “If the suspects are there when SWAT gets there, it’s pretty unusual for them to get away,” Neiman said. But he added that the mall is large with a lot of access points. Police also said that a white SUV was seen speeding out of the shopping center when officers first arrived on scene and hours later a similar vehicle was found in the neighboring community of Culver City. Both the person who was sexually assaulted and the one that was stabbed were treated as soon as the SWAT team reached employees. Police are planning to release surveillance videos from the shopping center in the hope of finding the suspects.
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If these suspects are ever caught, they are facing a variety of charges. These charges include, but are not limited to, felony kidnapping, felony assault with a deadly weapon, felony burglary, felony rape (or whatever sexual crime may have occurred), conspiracy to commit these crimes in Los Angeles. Furthermore, these suspects would face enhancements that include the firearm enhancement. Even if the suspects didn’t take any money, they can still be charged with burglary in Los Angeles County. Burglary involves entering a structure with the intent to steal or commit any felony. In California, burglary of a residence is first-degree burglary. All other burglary is considered second-degree burglary or commercial burglary. Since these suspects entered a store, it would be second-degree burglary. However, since they clearly entered the store with the intent commit a felony, they can be charged with burglary even if nothing was taken. Visit our website for more information about burglary charges in Los Angeles County or anywhere in California.