By GREG RISLING
CULVER CITY, Calif. – Gunmen invaded a closed discount store early today and ordered about 60 employees to the floor at gunpoint in a botched robbery attempt, starting a standoff with police that ended peacefully about 2 1/2hours later.
Two people were arrested, police said. No shots were fired and no one was injured.
Employees in the Target store on Sepulveda Boulevard notified police at 5:20 a.m. that there was a robbery in progress, said police Sgt. Lou Castle. The store normally opens at 8 a.m., but Culver City police said about 60 employees were already inside.
Around an hour later, at daybreak, a group of about 15 people left the store and police ordered them to the ground.
“When these people exited the store we had an employee identify them. Three of them were detained,” Castle said.
One of those three was later released.
The siege apparently ended around 7:45 a.m. when the remaining employees left the store with their hands in the air and one man in that group also was detained.
All three of those taken into custody were questioned at police headquarters. One was later released and two were booked, but the charges were not immediately disclosed.
Police said the two suspects had no weapons and officers were searching the store.
A Los Angeles County sheriff’s special weapons team joined Culver City and Los Angeles police who surrounded the store.
Robert Redmon, whose son David works the Target graveyard shift as a stock clerk, came to the store with his wife to see what was happening.
“When I heard about the hostages at Target, I about fell apart. It’s tough because I can’t get any information from anyone,” Redmon said.
Target corporate spokesman Patti Morris said crisis plans are in effect at all stores and the procedures were apparently followed during the Culver City robbery attempt. She wouldn’t elaborate on those plans.
“We do ensure that the appropriate Target resources and police resources are contacted,” Morris said.
Target stores often have large numbers of employees in stores after hours, she said.
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