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Pepper Spray Forces Evacuation of Theater

Los Angeles | IN BRIEF / LAKEWOOD

December 08, 2002|From Times Staff Reports

Pepper spray was released inside a movie theater Saturday, forcing the evacuation of 1,200 people and sending six to the hospital, officials said.

The pepper spray was released about 4:20 p.m. inside a theater where 96 people were watching the film "Empire," authorities said.

The 16-screen Pacific Theatres complex in the Lakewood Center Mall was evacuated and closed for nearly two hours, manager Luis Gonzalez said.

Six people with symptoms that included burning eyes and labored breathing were treated at local hospitals.

"They know it was pepper spray but they don't know where it came from," Los Angeles County Fire Lt. Brian Jordan said. The rest of the mall was not affected, he said.

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