5 Gunmen Hold 100 at Bay, Shoot 2 in Holdup

Times Staff Writer

Five armed robbers stormed a busy Safeway supermarket in South-Central Los Angeles Friday night, ordered 100 employees and customers to the floor and then shot and wounded two people, briefly taking one of the victims as a hostage.

Police said they did not know how much money was taken before the gunmen sped out of the market's parking lot in a late model black Cadillac.

The woman hostage, who suffered a gunshot wound in the leg, was released about three miles from the store, which is located at Adams Boulevard and Central Avenue.

The suspects were all armed when they charged into the Safeway at about 8:15 p.m., Officer Pat Findley of the Newton Division said.

A male shopper was also hit by gunfire and slightly wounded. The two victims, whose identities were not immediately known, were taken to California Medical Center. Their conditions were not believed to be serious.

The wounded woman was taken hostage at gunpoint by the men and was forced to get into their car as they made their escape, Findley said. She was freed in the 400 block of 49th Street.

As they entered the store, the gunmen ordered all of those inside to the floor. An unidentified employee who may have tried to resist was beaten, Findley said.

The robbers, positioning themselves throughout the store, emptied several registers and forced another store employee to open a safe. They also found money in the market's office. In all, they got away with at least several thousand dollars, said police Detective Peter Schunk.

"They had the guard go from one check stand to the next . . . taking all the money and placing it in paper bags," he said.

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