After 2017 brought multiple mass shootings with high body counts, authorities throughout the United States are on high alert ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Heightened security in Las Vegas was to be expected following Stephen Paddock’s October massacre (which killed 58 people and injured at least 525 more) from his high-rise hotel room above a music festival. And in Texas, authorities have arrested a man who may have wished to carry out a Paddock-style attack above a planned New Year’s Eve celebration.
The incident took place at Houston’s downtown Hyatt Regency hotel, which will unleash a 50,000-balloon drop at midnight amid a massive party. Fortunately for revelers, this suspect attracted attention early Sunday morning around 1:30 am when he reportedly grew “drunk and belligerent” toward staffers and began “fighting” with security. After being called to the scene, officers initially believed the man was trespassing but then investigated his room and made quite a find:
While gathering up the suspect’s belongings, police reportedly found an AR-15, a shotgun and a handgun, with many rounds of ammunition.
Investigators are waiting to talk to the unruly guest and figure out why he showed up to the hotel with multiple guns. He’s facing charges of trespassing and unlawful carry.
The New York Daily News adds that the man was staying on the hotel’s 28th floor with a room overlooking the celebrations that are still planned to occur. The officer who initially escorted the suspect (whose identity hasn’t been released) to his room called for backup after noticing stray ammunition before the entire arsenal was discovered. As previously reported, Paddock staged his meticulously planned attack from the Mandalay Bay hotel’s 32nd floor.
Although it’s not yet confirmed that this man was planning a massacre, police planned to further interview the intoxicated suspect on Sunday afternoon after he sobered up, according to Lt. Gordon MacIntosh via the Houston Chronicle.