California officials thwart planned mass shooting at hotel

August 22, 2019


Matthew Hoy

California law enforcement officials announced Wednesday, Aug. 21, that they had thwarted a threatened mass shooting at a Long Beach Marriott hotel by a disgruntled worker.

The man, who had several high-powered weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at his Los Angeles-area home, was arrested Tuesday, police said.

Rodolfo Montoya, 37, who was arrested at his home in nearby Huntington Beach, communicated the threat to someone he worked with at a Marriott hotel Monday evening, Long Beach police Chief Robert G. Luna said. The chief hailed the worker who helped get police involved, saying the warning likely saved lives.

"Thank God that employee decided to bring that information forward," Luna said at a news conference Wednesday.

Police said they seized high-powered firearms, including one described as an assault rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, 38 magazines that hold 30 rounds each and what was described as tactical gear from Montoya's home.

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 said.

A few things to note:

  • It's not certain that the 30-round magazines are necessarily illegal. If they were bought before 2000 or during "Freedom Week" they would be legally owned.
  • If the magazines were acquired at any other time, then they are illegal, but somehow, despite California's draconian gun laws, someone determined to do evil still managed to get their hands on them.
  • The so-called "assault rifle" may or may not be illegal in California. If it was registered in 2018 then it may technically be a legal firearm.

The Red Flag Elephant in the Room

The police were able to execute search and arrest warrants for the man who allegedly threatened the mass casualty attack without using California's "Red Flag" law. That law, as currently in effect in California, allows family members or the police to petition a court for a warrant to confiscate all firearms possessed by a person who may be a threat to themselves or others.

The public has been told repeatedly that Red Flag laws were necessary because current laws hamstrung law enforcement when it came to the very types of situations like occurred in Long Beach on Wednesday.

It turns out that revealing the threat to a co-worker who then reports it to the police is sufficient to get police to make an arrest—all without the due process concerns that are inherent in how Red Flag laws work.

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