The police standoff lasted more than six hours, shutting down a busy six-lane stretch of Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana for most of the evening.
An armed robbery suspect, authorities said, had barricaded himself inside an illegal marijuana dispensary in a strip mall in the 18300 block of Ventura Boulevard. He was believed to be one of four suspects and was thought to have a female hostage.
But when officers searched the building after 8:20 p.m., there was no one inside, said Officer Mike Lopez, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department.
Now, three suspects are missing. It remains unclear if there was a hostage.
Authorities responded to a call about an armed robbery at a business in the strip mall at 1:37 p.m., said LAPD Officer Jeff Lee, another department spokesman. When officers arrived, they discovered the illegal dispensary.
About 7 p.m., Lee said that one male suspect was barricaded inside with a woman and that it was “unclear whether she was a suspect, victim or hostage.” Officers, he said, were trying to negotiate with the suspect and had not yet searched the building. SWAT officers surrounded the strip mall.
After the hours-long standoff ended, the whereabouts of three suspects was unknown. Asked for details about the woman believed to have been in the dispensary, Lopez said: “There was nobody inside.”
One male suspect was taken into custody early in the standoff, authorities said.
Tenants from other businesses in the strip mall were evacuated.