A man has been arrested on multiple charges after police located a small arsenal of guns on the top floor of the Hyatt Regency on Louisiana Street downtown, where a large New Year’s Eve celebration is planned, Houston police said.
The man has been identified as Russell Lawrence Ziemba, 49.
Police at the hotel called for backup around 1:30 a.m. Sunday after they attempted to arrest Ziemba for being intoxicated and trespassing. When help arrived, police noticed ammunition around the man’s hotel room, Lt. Gordon Macintosh with Houston police said.
Ziemba was arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon and trespassing. When investigators looked through his room further, they located an AR-15, a shotgun, a handgun and lots of ammunition, Macintosh said.
Ziemba, who said he was staying at the hotel to celebrate New Year’s, admitted to drinking alcohol for days, police said. He told authorities that he moved his firearms to his room because he worried they’d be stolen from his truck, which was parked in the hotel garage.
The Hyatt is preparing a New Year’s Eve celebration at the hotel with a 50,000 balloon drop at the stroke of midnight, its website said.
Ziemba’s white Chevrolet Silverado was located and towed to be searched and examined, Macintosh said. Police are waiting to interview Ziemba until he has sobered up, he said.
Authorities say they don’t believe Ziemba intended to use his weapons. He is facing trespass charges because he refused to leave when repeatedly asked to do so. Ziemba, who struggled with one officer, is also facing a charge of assault of a peace officer.
The Hyatt released the following statement Sunday:
The safety and security of our guests and colleagues is our top priority, and consistent with the hotel’s prepared security plans, heightened measures are in place on New Year’s Eve. We are fully cooperating with authorities on an investigation, and further questions should be directed to the Houston Police Department.