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Hostages rescued after LA standoff

A police investigator carried evidence bags from a Nordstrom Rack store at the Howard Hughes Center.

Reed Saxon/Associated Press

A police investigator carried evidence bags from a Nordstrom Rack store at the Howard Hughes Center.

LOS ANGELES — Robbers stabbed a clothing store employee and sexually assaulted another during an hours-long hostage drama that ended early Friday with a police SWAT team surging into the shop and rescuing 14 workers.

No robbers were found. Police were seeking at least two men and also were trying to determine whether a vehicle found abandoned in neighboring Culver City was the ­getaway vehicle.

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The ordeal at the Nordstrom Rack store near Los Angeles International Airport began at about 11 p.m. when a man called 911 and reported that his girlfriend had called and said there were gunmen in the store, Lieutenant Andy Neiman said.

‘‘She told him, ‘Call 911. Two guys with guns just came into our store,’ ’’ Neiman said.

Police officers and special weapons team members swarmed the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, an outdoor shopping center that also contains restaurants and a theater.

The officers saw a man leave the second-floor store but he ran back inside when they tried to contact him, Neiman said. Moments later, another man came out with a woman, but when he saw the police he grabbed her and pushed her back inside, Neiman said.

SWAT members surrounded the location but weren’t able to talk to anyone during the three-hour standoff.

When they finally burst into the store, they found most of the hostages locked in a storage room and two others in a bathroom, police said.

One hostage was treated and released at the scene for a non-life threatening stab wound, Neiman said, and another employee was sexually assaulted.

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