Rodolfo Montoya, 37, was arrested by police officers on Aug. 20 after a concerned hotel employee alerted officers on Monday to “a verbal threat of violence,” the Long Beach Police Department said.
A search of Montoya’s Huntington Beach residence uncovered multiple firearms, high capacity-magazines, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and tactical gear.
The high-capacity magazines and an assault rifle that was found are both illegal to possess in California, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation.
An investigation indicated that Montoya made the threat because he was upset “over human resource issues,” the department said.
“In recent months, we have seen several tragic incidents that have resulted in many lives lost,” Police Chief Robert Luna said in a statement. “The witnesses who came forward and the diligence of our employees involved in this investigation very likely prevented a threat of violence and saved many lives.”
Police officials said at a press conference that there were indications Montaya had planned to carry out a mass shooting.
“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 told reporters, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram. “There’s still a lot of people we have to interview. We’re still in the middle of the investigation.”
He said “many lives were saved” because of the worker who reported the threat.
“He went into somewhat of a description of what he was going to do and the tools he was going to use to do it, which he described very well because we have them right here on this table,” Luna said,” reported the Long Beach Post.
The suspect worked at the Marriott close to Long Beach Airport.
“I am just here to thank Long Beach Police Chief Luna and his team,” said Imran Ahmed, the hotel’s general manager, the Press-Telegram reported. “The way they got ahead of this story, that is the reason we are here today.”
Ahmed said Montoya “wasn’t a model employee but he never called out” and even won an award for not missing a shift in 2018, the Post reported.
#BREAKING #LongBeach police have arrested 37-year-old Rodolfo Montoya of Huntington Beach. He’s an employee of the Long Beach Marriott. This is evidence associated with that arrest/threat that was thwarted by LB Police thanks to a tip from another employee @ABC7 pic.twitter.com/BxISERg6mB
— Josh Haskell (@abc7JoshHaskell) August 21, 2019
According to jail records, Montaya was being held on $500,000 bail. He was booked on suspicion of manufacturing and distributing assault weapons, possession of an assault weapon, and making criminal threats, police said.
Ron Kaufman, a neighbor, told CBS that another neighbor warned him about Montoya because of the number of guns the suspect owned.
“He seemed relatively normal,” Kaufman, who at one point helped Montoya fix his car, added, “but nothing surprises me anymore.”
Anyone with information about the incident was asked to call police at 562-435-6711. Anonymous tips can also be left by dialing 1-800-222-8477, texting TIPLA plus your tip to 274637, or going to the website http://www.lacrimestoppers.org.