Popcorn Company Employee Took Exec Hostage At Gunpoint, Police Say

Leonora Banuelos took her workplace, Popcornopolis, hostage for three hours. A day after the country was reeling from the shocking Boston Marathon bombings, a small Southern California company reportedly was in the grips of its own violent drama. Leonora Banuelos walked into her office at Popcornopolis with a semiautomatic pistol and took her boss hostage, authorities said. Banuelos, 21 (pictured right), allegedly ordered all the workers on site to leave the premises except the CFO, and then held him hostage for three hours, according to reports.

According to news reports, a SWAT team had surrounded the building in El Segundo and convinced Banuelos to release the CFO unharmed. The CFO wasn't named in reports, but authorities said she targeted the CFO because he was the highest-ranking official in the office. According to news reports, Banuelos allegedly was upset over a "failed relationship" with a co-worker at Popcornopolis, a gourmet popcorn company located just outside of Los Angeles. She's currently being held on $100,000 bail. She's been booked for suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment and making criminal threats, The Associated Press is reporting.

Speaking to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, Wally Arnold, one of the company's founders, said, "We are grateful for our courageous employees. We are grateful that everything appears to have concluded in the best possible way."

​More: Town's Mandatory Gun Law: A Local Gun Seller Speaks Out

The close call at Popcornopolis is of a piece with the times. As was reported by AOL Jobs earlier this year, workplace violence is on the rise. According to Dr. Larry Barton, an expert in crisis management and consultant to Fortune 500 companies, 2012 was the "worst year in about 20 years" for workplace homicides. He says that homicides were up 50 percent from 2011 to last year.

How to quell the violence remains a contentious issue. On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted down three measures that would expand gun control. The measures included more extensive background checks, and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines.

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There will be no gourmet popcorn where she is going.

April 21 2013 at 4:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There was presumption of gunfire when witnesses heard a series of rapid-fire "POPS" ...

April 20 2013 at 9:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

More butter dammit!

April 20 2013 at 9:12 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

GUN CONTROL has nothing to do with this....Lets look at our IMMIGRATION LAWS! And the planned AMNESTY for future Bostons and POPCORN companies!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 20 2013 at 7:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Your last paragraph tells all about where you stand.. the girl did not have an assault weapon, did not have a weapon with a 30 round clip. A semi-automatic pistol.. say 9mm? Might have had a 15 shot clip.. might.. So how does that tie in the the latest gun control bill that did not get passed?
Another of those that would completely disarm the legal population so only the criminals have guns?
How about we punish those that abuse weapons and take mental health care serious for a change?

April 20 2013 at 6:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

That said, I certainly had a jolly time reading it...

April 20 2013 at 4:25 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

This article may not be 100% correct, but there's almost certainly a kernel of truth in it.

April 20 2013 at 4:15 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

This is the world we live in. These crimes will become more and more commonplace as the younger generation becomes more and more self absorbed. Get off facebook and read a real book foolish youngsters.

April 20 2013 at 2:53 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Obviously this woman has some issues.

April 20 2013 at 1:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

....Popcorn factory love.. gone bad !......Cheeses Rice !

April 20 2013 at 9:58 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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