Employee Takes Popcorn Company Exec Hostage – Christina Pascucci Reports

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.  — It happened first thing this morning around 8:20am and from the get go police say they couldn’t tell what this woman’s motive was or whether she was going to shoot.

Witnesses to this mornings hostage situation in El Segundo say they were horrified as screaming employees ran from Popcorn Mania on the corner of El Segundo Blvd and Oregon St.

“Pretty scary …this is second incident that has taken place …there was an employee did a stabbing, barricaded us in as well,” says Shimeka Lott who works next door.

Sirens penetrated the air as police swarmed the area and got the warehouse on lockdown. Employees from nearby businesses were told to stay inside their buildings.

“It’s pretty scary when you see police officers running with guns and they tell you to get back in and close the door,” Lott said.

Police say an employee, 21 year old Leonora Banuelos, came in to the popcorn distribution center with a semi automatic handgun and took the company’s CFO hostage. She was reportedly upset about a failed relationship with a coworker.

“Several employees fled and some hid inside location, eventually made their way out,”  El Segundo Lt Raymond Garcia told KTLA.

More than half a dozen South Bay police agencies responded as well as the SWAT team.

After three long hours the CFO was safely released and shortly after, Banuelos gave herself up.

She was booked on several charges including assault with a deadly weapon and being held on 100,000 dollars bail.

– Christina Pascucci, KTLA News

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