Man with guns arrested at Houston hotel; ‘this was not Las Vegas’ says official

Updated December 31, 2017 - 8:41 pm

HOUSTON — An intoxicated man was arrested at a hotel that hosts one of Houston’s largest New Year’s Eve parties after police found several guns and ammunition in his room, police said Sunday.

Investigators said hotel security officers called police after the man became belligerent and refused to be leave the bar at downtown Houston’s Hyatt Regency Hotel early Sunday morning. Police said responding officers found a rifle, a shotgun and a handgun in his room, plus ammunition.

The 49-year-old man later told investigators he’d brought the guns into his room because he didn’t want them to get stolen from his truck, which was parked in the hotel garage, police spokesman Victor Senties said.

“At this point, our investigators do not believe there was any kind of intent by him to use the weapons or to cause any kind of issue. It appears he was just bringing them in,” Senties said.

After hours of investigating, police charged 49-year-old Russell Lawrence Ziemba with assaulting a peace officer and trespassing, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“This was not Las Vegas,” an official familiar with the case told the Chronicle. “There was not an arsenal.”

The man told investigators he was staying at the hotel to celebrate New Year’s Eve and admitted he’d been drinking.

Police said the man was arrested and jailed for unlawfully carrying a weapon and trespassing. Senties said a trespassing charge would stem from the fact that the man refused to leave the hotel when told to do so.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted earlier Sunday that the situation at the hotel had been “contained” and authorities weren’t aware of any specific threats to the city.

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