Lakewood Movie Theater Evacuated After Pepper Spray Release

AP Wire Service

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

Police were investigating who released the pepper spray at about 4:20 p.m. inside the movie theater where 96 people were watching the John Leguizamo film “Empire.”

The 16-screen Pacific Theaters in the Lakewood Center Mall was evacuated and closed for nearly two hours, said Luis Gonzalez, the theater’s manager. Six people with symptoms including burning eyes and trouble breathing were treated at local hospitals.

“They know it was pepper spray but they don’t know where it came from,” said Los Angeles County Fire Lt. Brian Jordan.

The rest of the mall was not affected, Jordan said.