89°F
weather icon Clear

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.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
‘Assault on our city’: Hundreds ransack downtown Chicago after shooting

Hundreds of people descended on downtown Chicago early Monday following a police shooting on the city’s South Side, with vandals smashing the windows of dozens of businesses and making off with merchandise, cash machines and anything else they could carry, police said.

1 dead after gas explosion levels Baltimore homes

A natural gas explosion destroyed three row houses in Baltimore on Monday, killing a woman and trapping other people in the wreckage.

Crater Lake in Oregon threatened by visitor surge amid pandemic

The clean, clear waters of Crater Lake National Park are being threatened by contamination brought in by visitors after the coronavirus pandemic spurred sharp cutbacks in park staffing.

Georgia high school goes online after COVID infections reported

A Georgia high school plans to start the week with all classes shifting online after nine students and staff tested positive for the coronavirus when the school year opened last week with most students attending in-person.

Postal Service emerges as flash point heading into election

The success of the 2020 presidential election could hinge on a most unlikely government agency: the U.S. Postal Service. Current signs are not promising.

US tops 5 million confirmed virus cases, to Europe’s alarm

With confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. hitting 5 million Sunday, by far the highest of any country, the failure of the most powerful nation in the world to contain the scourge has been met with astonishment and alarm in Europe.

DC shooting leaves 1 dead, some 20 injured

A dispute that erupted into gun fire during a large outdoor party in Washington, D.C., early Sunday left one person dead and some 20 others injured, including an off-duty officer “struggling for her life,” according to police.