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Police make arrest in Maryland Popeye's killing

Tuesday - 9/2/2014, 4:24pm  ET

MILLERSVILLE, Md. -- It was a brutal attack inside a local Popeyes over the weekend and now police say they've charged a man with murder.

Luzmivinda Monreal was stabbed to death early Sunday morning when a fellow co- worker tried to rob the restaurant according to police.

"It was a senseless act of violence (against) a hard-working woman," says Anne Arundel County Police Lt. T.J. Smith.

Monreal was in the right place at the wrong time. She worked at several Popeyes in Anne Arundel County in her more than 25-year career with the company, most recently at the Brooklyn Park location on Ritchie Highway. On Saturday night, into early Sunday, she was working with a fellow employee, Moises Gomez-Castillo, when her regular shift turned into tragedy.

Smith says Gomez-Castillo waited until the store closed around 1 a.m. and the two were the last employees inside. Police say that's when he tried to steal money out of the restaurant's safe. "She, unfortunately, was the person in the way of him accomplishing that mission. Absolutely tragic," Smith says.

Around 8 a.m. Sunday, a Popeyes manager found her body in a back stock room stabbed multiple times. She was pronounced dead on the scene.

"It was a gruesome scene. All over dollars. A few dollars," Smith says. Police are investigating whether or not Monreal was able to fight back.

Police say Gomez-Castillo was a Popeyes employee off and on for seven years and planned the robbery in advance. Charging documents say Gomez-Castillo tried to conspire with another person to rob the restaurant and kill Monreal. That person came forward to police and provided a description of Gomez-Castillo.

Monreal was a beloved community member, Smith says. "Many of the officers and many of the residents in the area knew her."

Gomez-Castillo faces murder, assault, and theft charges. "We want to make sure we put him away for a very long time," Smith says.

This is the tenth homicide in Anne Arundel County for 2014. Two cases remain open.

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