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Armed Robber Holds Pharmacist and Family Hostage Inside Store

A pharmacist and at least two members of his family apparently were being held hostage in an Echo Park drugstore by an armed robber Thursday afternoon, after police officers surrounded the building.

By late afternoon, no shots had been fired and no one was known to be injured, officers said.

Because of logistics in the building containing the Taylor Pharmacy, eight people were trapped for a time in a small medical clinic on the second floor, Los Angeles police said. Special Weapons and Tactics team members, however, were able to safely evacuate them through the roof and down a rear staircase.

Officers said they did not believe that the gunman was aware of the people on the second floor.

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The unidentified pharmacy operator, his pregnant wife and small son were believed to still be inside the store, investigators said.

Police rushed to the pharmacy at 1700 W. Temple St., near Belmont Avenue, shortly before 3 p.m. after a woman employee reportedly managed to slip outside and call them.

Officers said she apparently recognized the man as the one who held up the store two days earlier.

Sgt. Sam Galluzzo said police tried unsuccessfully to get either the suspect or one of the apparent hostages to pick up a telephone.

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Temple Street was closed to traffic for several blocks around.

Meanwhile, hundreds of spectators gathered nearby to watch the siege.


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