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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Southern California

Popcornopolis Employee Holds CFO Hostage

A Popcornopolis employee in El Segundo was arrested after holding the company's CFO hostage for 3 hours.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. | The El Segundo Police Department has announced that the suspect in custody is Leonoro Banuelos.

According to police Banuelos was distraught over a failed relationship with another co-worker.

Banuelos was booked for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, False Imprisonment and Criminal Threats.

She is currently being held on $100,000 bail.

Original Story | A current female Popcornopolis employee was arrested in El Segundo Tuesday after holding the company's Chief Financial Officer hostage..

The standoff began just after 8 am, when the female employee walked into work with a handgun.

(Ashley Riegle/ATVN)
(Ashley Riegle/ATVN)

It ended about two and a half hours later when the suspect walked out of the building and surrendered to police.

She surrendered just moments after releasing the unharmed CFO from the building.

Police arrived at 8:18 am and began negotiating with the suspect, according to Lieutenant and Public Information Officer Ray Garcia.

Crisis negotiators were on the phone with her throughout the standoff.

Several employees fled from the building, and others hid inside and managed to eventually escape after the suspect's arrival this morning, Garcia said.

Police searched the building after the suspect was taken into custody to make sure no one else was left inside.

A semiautomatic handgun was found at the scene.

The roads around the store, located at 1301 E. El Segundo Blvd, were blocked off and surrounded by police during the three hour ordeal.

Shineka Lott, an employee of Herber Aircraft Service, located next to Popcornopolis, told ATVN she was locked in her building as a precaution.

"A few officers and snipers are watching over the building," Lott said. "I believe they are watching to see if she's going to come out."

Lott also discussed how the tragedy in Boston most likely increased fear over the standoff, saying "when you hear about things and don't get the whole story, you start to worry."

Popcornopolis sells gourmet popcorn at several tourist locations in Los Angeles, including a store at Universal CityWalk and a booth at the Staples Center.

There is no indication of a possible motive.

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