Police in Houston arrested a man on Sunday who was allegedly found to have multiple firearms and ammunition in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Houston.
While multiple media outlets have reported that the hotel hosts one of the largest New Year’s Eve parties in Houston, police have indicated that the man did not pose any specific threats to Houston or to any New Year’s Eve party.
Additionally, the hotel is within easy walking distance of the downtown George R. Brown Convention Center, which is currently hosting the Houston GRB Gun and Knife Show, the largest gun show in Houston.
According to the Houston Chronicle, hotel security attempted to get a drunk and disorderly patron at the hotel bar to return to his room, but the patron refused and began to fight with hotel security. Accordingly, they called police, who intended to place the patron under arrest for drunk and disorderly conduct.
The police escorted the patron back up to his room to allow him to retrieve his belongings, when they noticed several firearms and “large amounts of ammunition” in his hotel room. They placed him under arrest and also towed his truck in order to check it for more weapons.
According to the Chronicle, police found an AR-15, a shotgun, and a handgun.
Was he planning on carrying out a mass shooting?
Multiple media outlets, including Time and CBS, have speculated about the connection between the hotel and a major New Year’s Eve party, implying that the man may have intended to carry out a Las Vegas-style mass shooting. However, after an extensive investigation, Houston police have indicated that they do not believe the man posed a threat.
According to the Houston Chronicle, one officer familiar with the case said “this was not Las Vegas,” and that “there was not an arsenal.” The police also indicated that the man owned all three guns legally and that he is not currently facing charges related to the guns. Additionally, the man made no threats related to the guns or a party.
Because of the extent of his intoxication, the suspect was not able to be interviewed in the early morning hours on Sunday.
Shortly after 2 p.m., Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo issued the following statement via Twitter:
Hyatt suspect interview concluded. Placed firearms in hotel room for safekeeping while. Based on limited amount of ammunition, interview & other investigative findings no unlawful intent found. Suspect has been booked & charged with assaulting Peace Officer & trespassing.
— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) December 31, 2017