Jealous Ex Holds 42 Hostages in Five-Hour Standoff in Guatemala

An armed man in a jealous rage took 42 hostages in a Guatemala City call center on Monday and released them unharmed and turned himself to police after a five-hour standoff, police said.

National Police spokesman Donald Gonzalez said Luis Escobar, 29, overpowered a security guard at the 24/7 Call Center and took his gun late Monday.

Police officer Miguel Tzoc said Escobar was in a jealous rage over a former girlfriend who worked in the call center.

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Escobar first released 40 hostages but kept his former girlfriend and her new boyfriend. He released the couple 10 minutes later and turned himself in to police.

Escobar had opened fire on three paramedics who tried to enter the building to talk to him. He claimed to have an explosive and threatened to detonate it, Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said Escobar didn't have any explosives on his body, but police were still searching the building early Tuesday.

One of the hostages, Luis Sesam, 24, said Escobar arrived to the call center wearing a ski mask, disarmed the security guard and fired three shots at the ceiling.

"It seems like he knew what he was doing because he ordered us to divide ourselves into groups of men and women and told us that if we cooperated nothing would happen to us," Sesam said.

Escobar didn't have any specific demands but kept asking for a pastor. When the minister arrived, he broke down and released the hostages, Sesam said.