Police in Houston, Texas, announced Sunday that officers had discovered a “small arsenal” of guns inside a room at the top floor of a downtown hotel. Upon further investigation, authorities now believe that the owner of the guns did not have any intent to use them for nefarious purposes.
49-year-old Russell Lawrence Ziemba was arrested early Sunday morning on multiple charges after police made the unsettling discovery while trying to arrest him for public intoxication and trespassing, Click 2 Houston reported.
Officers noticed ammunition inside the man’s hotel room, and upon further investigation, they found an AR-15, a shotgun, a handgun, and a significant trove of ammunition, Lt. Gordon Macintosh said.
Authorities were initially concerned that Ziemba was planning to carry out a mass shooting similar to the Mandalay Bay attack in October, as the hotel will hold its own large New Year’s Eve celebration that is expected to draw a large crowd.
However, Ziemba maintained that he simply came to the hotel to celebrate the holiday and had a few too many drinks in the process. He also insisted that he only brought the weapons up to his room so that they would not be stolen from his vehicle, which police towed and will search as part of the investigation.
Houston officials appear to believe that Ziemba is telling the truth.
“Hyatt suspect interview concluded,” wrote Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo on Twitter. “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.”
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