By Phil Helsel
A mass shooting may have been prevented when an employee at a Marriott hotel in Long Beach, California, reported that a disgruntled co-worker had threatened to kill workers and customers at the hotel, police said Wednesday.
The man, who had several high-powered weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at his Los Angeles-area home, was arrested Tuesday, police said.
Rodolfo Montoya, 37, who was arrested at his home in nearby Huntington Beach, communicated the threat to someone he worked with at a Marriott hotel Monday evening, Long Beach police Chief Robert G. Luna said. The chief hailed the worker who helped get police involved, saying the warning likely saved lives.
“Thank God that employee decided to bring that information forward,” Luna said at a news conference Wednesday.
Police said they seized high-powered firearms, including one described as an assault rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, 38 magazines that hold 30 rounds each and what was described as tactical gear from Montoya’s home.
Montoya “had clear plans, intent and the means to carry out an act of violence that may have resulted in a mass casualty incident,” Luna said.
Montoya was booked on charges of manufacturing and distributing assault weapons, possession of an assault weapon and making a criminal threat. He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, police said. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is expected to decide on what charges he may face.
Montoya, a cook at the hotel near Long Beach Airport south of downtown Los Angeles, was said to be upset about issues with human resources and told a fellow employee about his anger and plans. The employee notified hotel staff of the threat, and police became involved.
“He’s alleged to have said … he was going to shoot up fellow employees and people coming into the hotel,” Luna said. “So, he had a plan of shooting everybody that he saw in the hotel.”