Southern California breaking news and trends

Manager being held hostage at Buena Park bank

Saehan Bank buena park

Photo via NBC LA

A dangerous situation is unfolding at Buena Park bank where a gunman is holding at least one person hostage, multiple outlets are reporting. The hostage situation might be part of a personal or workplace dispute, according to the L.A. Times.

A suspect with a gun is believed to be holding a manager hostage inside Saehan Bank at 4542 Beach Blvd., police said. The manager is a woman. Authorities received a call about a bank robbery just before noon.

Employees were ordered by the suspect to leave the building, but the manager was reportedly held.

The branch has been surrounded by federal and local authorities and part of Beach Boulevard has been shut down. The area, including neighboring businesses, is being evacuated as officials are attempting to contact the gunman.

A SWAT team is outside the bank, with more on the way, KCAL 9 reports.


Topshop to oust Banana Republic at the Grove


Photo by Rija 3.0 via Flickr Creative Commons

Topshop, the UK retailer with a worldwide following, will be assuming power at the Grove in Los Angeles on the corner currently occupied by Banana Republic.

Expect an early-morning, Apple store-eque lineup when the 25,000-square-foot store opens its doors (hopefully) in November 2012. Fashion website Refinery 21 predicts "some die-hard sartorialists will even tent up overnight" in anticipation of the company's "on-trend, fairly priced wares."

Though slated to open in time for the holiday shopping season, the British fashion chain may not actually see lights-on until February 2013 should any unexpected issues arise, said developer Rick Caruso, notes the L.A. Times.

Caruso said he'd been negotiating for two years with Topshop owner Sir Philip Green for a Los Angeles location.

Banana Republic will be moving to a smaller kingdom in the mall.


Brad Pitt to join George Clooney in Prop 8 play

Actor Brad Pitt arrives on the red carpe


Actor Brad Pitt arrives on the red carpet for the 84th Annual Academy Awards on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit: REDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Brad Pitt is taking time out of his dreamy, age-reversing schedule to star with George Clooney in Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black's gay marriage rights play "8," set for its Los Angeles premiere on Saturday.

The man who seems to be magically Benjamin Button-ing himself (especially the hair) will take on the role of United States District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker -- the judge who overturned California's gay marriage ban by ruling Prop 8 unconstitutional -- in a staged reading of the landmark production.

The West Coast premiere, serving as a fundraiser for gay marriage efforts, will take place at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on March 3.

Pitt is joining an already star-heavy cast that includes George Clooney and Martin Sheen playing the plaintiffs’ co-counsel odd-couple Theodore B. Olson and David Boies. The two gay couples who put forth the law suit -- Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, with Kris Perry and Sandy Stier -- will be played by Matthew Morrison, Matt Bomer, Christine Lahti, and Jamie Lee Curtis.


LA Fire Department response time lags after budget strain

Mercer 4986

Collin Robinson/KPCC

An LAFD paramedic vehicle is seen here at the Avenue 19 maintenance facility in downtown.

Following changes to its deployment plan to save the city money, the L.A. Fire Department's emergency response times appear to be up and further away from its goals, according to an NBC LA report.

Under the new deployment plan, four ambulances and 18 fire companies have been shut down for good. When the new deployment plan was put in place last July, the department found it was able to respond within five minutes of a call about 63 percent of the time, according to documents obtained by the station. Its goal was to be able to meet the five minute mark at least 90 percent of the time.

Now, fire officials find they're able to respond within five minutes of a call less than 60 percent of the time. For the majority (90 percent) of calls, it takes LAFD an average of seven minutes and 24 seconds to reach their destination.


Andrew Breitbart, conservative publisher and activist, dies at 43 in LA (updated)

Online Insurgent

Reed Saxon/AP

In this Feb. 11, 2010 file photo, conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart is seen during an interview at his home in L.A. The 43-year-old father of four died early Thursday morning.

Conservative media publisher and activist Andrew Breitbart has died at the age of 43.

The news broke on one of his websites on Thursday morning that he died of natural causes in L.A. just after midnight. Father-in-law Orson Bean said that's when Breitbart collapsed, walking near his Brentwood home. Breitbart had suffered heart problems a year earlier, but Bean said he could not pinpoint what happened.

"I don't know what to say. It's devastating," Bean told The Associated Press.

His death was confirmed by editor-in-chief Joel Pollak, who says he was at the hospital. Larry Dietz, watch commander at the L.A. County coroner's office, said the cause of his death was unknown and an autopsy would "more than likely" be conducted. Breitbart lived in L.A. with his wife and four children.