A disgruntled cook who threatened to carry out a mass shooting and had assembled an extensive stockpile of high-powered firearms, ammunition and tactical gear has been arrested, authorities in Long Beach, Calif., said.
Police arrested Rodolfo Montoya, 37, at his Huntington Beach residence Tuesday after he told a co-worker at the Long Beach Marriott that he was planning to "shoot up fellow employees and people coming into the hotel," said Police Chief Robert Luna during a news conference.
According to investigators, Montoya was aggravated over a dispute involving the hotel's human resources department and was planning to seek retribution. Police say one of Montoya's colleagues reported the threat to police, an act authorities credited with thwarting what could have been a massacre.
"Montoya had clear plans, intent and the means to carry out an act of violence that may have resulted in a mass casualty situation," Luna said. "Because this was reported, I firmly believe many lives were saved."
Luna said after the report from one of Montoya's co-workers was received by police on Monday, the department launched an investigation that involved searching Montoya's Huntington Beach home, revealing a vast array of weapons, such as assault-style riles, high-capacity ammunition magazines and hundreds of bullets.
The foiled plot marks at least the seventh instance of a potential mass attack being averted since gunmen in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, carried out shootings that left a total of 31 people dead in one weekend.
In Nevada, prosecutors arrested a man suspected of trying to make a bomb to target a synagogue and a bar catering to LGBTQ patrons. Federal authorities in Connecticut last week intercepted a man who "showed interest" in a mass shooting. The same day, federal authorities in Maryland announced the arrest of a man who had made violent threats against a Jewish congregation.
A day later, police in Daytona Beach, Fla., charged a man with making threats to commit a mass shooting in a large crowd. Then an Ohio man was arrested following a threatened attack on a Jewish community center. This week, prosecutors announced charges against a man in Maryland who allegedly made violent threats against Hispanic people. After that, federal agents arrested a Florida truck driver in Indianapolis who was suspected of planning a shootout in a church in Memphis, Tenn.
Back in California, it is not known how Montoya obtained such a wide array of weapons and ammunition. With limited exemptions, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are illegal for anyone to possess in California.
Montoya is being held in the Long Beach City Jail on charges of manufacturing and distributing assault weapons, possession of an assault weapon and making a criminal threat.