A California hotel chef who told a co-worker he wanted to “shoot up” the hotel, and had the firepower to do it, is in custody.
Police in Long Beach believe they foiled a possible mass shooting plot by arresting the man from a Marriott Hotel in the area. Rodolfo Montoya, 37, was angry over an HR dispute and allegedly expressed a desire to one of his co-workers to “shoot up” the hotel — boasting that he had the necessary weapons.
The co-worker reported Montoya’s comments to hotel management, who relayed the information to the police.
When law enforcement visited Montoya on Tuesday at his home 15 miles south in Huntington Beach, they discovered a large cache of weapons: multiple high-powered fire-arms including two assault rifles, a pump-action shotgun, 38 high-capacity magazines, and hundreds of rounds of ammo, plus tactical gear.
Assault rifles and high-capacity magazines are illegal in California. Police aren’t sure how he obtained the weapons. Montoya has been charged with manufacturing and distributing assault weapons, possession of an assault weapon, and making a criminal threat.
“Suspect Montoya had clear plans, intent and the means to carry out an act of violence that may have resulted in a mass casualty incident,” Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Montoya’s arrest comes as the U.S. is especially on edge following three mass shootings earlier this month in California, Texas, and Ohio that left a combined total of 34 people dead. At least 28 people have been arrested since those shootings for threatening violence. Many of those, like Montoya, possessed high-powered firearms and large amounts of ammunition when they were arrested.
There have been at least two shootings at workplaces in the U.S. so far this year. In late July, a disgruntled former employee walked into Walmart in Mississippi and opened fire on his supervisors, killing two and wounding an officer. Two months earlier, a disgruntled city employee walked into the municipal office where he worked in Virginia Beach, and opened fire, killing 11, and wounding six.
“I believe the police department has worked to avert what would have been a real tragedy in this community, said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia at a press conference on Wednesday.
Cover: This undated photo released Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019 by the Long Beach, Calif., Police Department shows weapons and ammunition seized from a cook at a Los Angeles-area hotel who allegedly threatened a mass shooting. (Long Beach Police Department via AP)