Beverly Hills Police Detain Suspect Following “Active Threat” at Waldorf Astoria Hotel

The Beverly Hills Police Department closed off a prime intersection in the 90210 to investigate an “active threat” at the Waldorf Astoria on Thursday.

A source on the scene told The Hollywood Reporter that a major police presence surrounded the corners of Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards including a SWAT vehicle and helicopter circling above. A steady stream of sirens could be heard from miles away as both the Waldorf Astoria and the adjacent Beverly Hilton hotels were put under lockdown with help from officers in West Hollywood and Los Angeles. The situation unfolded as a wave of music industry and press insiders were due in the area for credentialing ahead of Clive Davis’ A-list pre-Grammy party, scheduled to take place on Saturday at the Beverly Hilton.

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At 9:39 a.m., BHPD responded to a call at the hotel from staff security regarding a disturbance from a male guest who was believed to be armed. Before BHPD officers arrived, security had knocked on the door and heard someone on the other side yell, “I’m going to shoot through the door!” Once officers arrived on the scene, they employed the use of a drone to discover the suspect with a firearm while standing on the hotel balcony. BHPD called in the help of SWAT personnel, crisis negotiators and mutual aid from surrounding authorities.

Before negotiations commenced, officers requested that the suspect exit his room unarmed. He complied “and was safely taken into custody,” per a statement from BHPD. Joseph Leonardi, a 41-year-old man from Woodland Hills, was charged with possession of a firearm as a convicted felon and negligent discharge of a firearm.

A rep for the Waldorf Astoria confirmed that “an isolated incident” occurred there today, adding “the hotel is cooperating fully with local authorities. The wellbeing, safety and security of our guests and team members are of paramount importance. We will continue to make every effort to ensure all practices and standards are in line with strict safety and security regulations.”

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