4 arrested, guns seized at hotel near MLB All-Star game events
The FBI said it had "no reason to believe" that the game was under threat, but local Denver police officials refused to rule out the possibility of a mass shooting plot
By Shelly Bradbury
The Denver Post
DENVER — The FBI said it has no reason to believe four people arrested with guns and ammunition in a hotel a block away from Coors Field on MLB All-Star Game weekend posed a threat to the game, but Denver police refused to rule out the possibility of a mass shooting plot during a Sunday news conference.
Denver police on Friday seized weapons and a significant amount of narcotics from two rooms at The Maven Hotel at 1850 Wazee St., Denver police Chief Paul Pazen said Sunday. A source who spoke to The Post on condition of anonymity said it was more than a dozen guns and numerous rounds of ammunition.
The hotel is a block from Coors Field, where thousands of fans attended the MLB Futures Game and Celebrity Softball Game on Sunday, and thousands are expected at the Home Run Derby on Monday and the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
There was no reason to believe the suspects posed a threat to the All-Star Game, Courtney Bernal, acting public affairs specialist with the Denver FBI office, said in a statement Sunday.
"We have no reason to believe this incident was connected to terrorism or a threat directed at the All-Star Game," she said. "We are not aware of any threat to the All-Star Game events, venues, players or the community at this time."
Mayor Michael Hancock, Public Safety Director Murphy Robinson and Pazen emphasized in a Sunday afternoon news conference that there are no ongoing threats at Coors Field. But they would not rule out that the four suspects may have been planning mass violence.
"We don't know what we don't know," Pazen said. "We need to identify exactly to the extent possible why individuals were here ... and we don't have those answers."
Previously, law enforcement sources told Denver7 they feared a "Las Vegas-style shooting" because of the number of weapons and ammunition in the hotel rooms, as well as the vantage point from a balcony, which would overlook potentially large crowds. One of the men who was arrested posted on Facebook about wanting to "go out in a big way," according to Denver7, which cited anonymous police sources.
Pazen refused to disclose many details about the arrests Sunday, citing the ongoing investigation. He said that police recovered weapons and narcotics from two rooms, and that people were arrested in both rooms.
Hotel staff alerted police after becoming suspicious, Pazen said. He declined to elaborate, but official praised hotel employees' quick action, as well as law enforcement's response.
"We saw the system working," Pazen said. "You saw people that saw something, that said something and then the appropriate response took place."
Richard Platt, 42; Gabriel Rodriguez, 48; Ricardo Rodriguez, 44; and Kanoelehua Serikawa, 43, were arrested. Police did not provide places of residence for the four, who are being held and investigated for alleged illegal possession of weapons and possession of controlled substances.
Three of the four suspects have lengthy criminal histories in Colorado.
Platt's criminal history in Colorado dates back to 1998, when he pleaded guilty to prohibited use of a weapon. It also includes felony convictions on weapons and drug charges, receiving stolen property, theft and assault, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
A woman who identified herself as his mother when reached by the Denver Post on Sunday said it would be out of character for Platt to plan a mass shooting.
"It's absurd," she said before hanging up.
Gabriel Rodriguez, 48, also has past felony drug convictions, as well as misdemeanor convictions that date back to 1993, according to CBI. Pazen said Sunday he is not related to Ricardo Rodriguez, 44, whose criminal history in the state begins in 1996 and includes a felony conviction for fraud and a misdemeanor drug conviction.
The sole woman, Serikawa, has no criminal history in the state, according to CBI.
"We are grateful for the Coloradan who reported the suspicious activity, the swift action of law enforcement, and are fully supportive of Denver's investigation," Gov. Jared Polis spokesman Conor Cahill said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for The Maven Hotel said hotel staff could not speak to media because of the ongoing police investigation, but said in a statement that the hotel is working closely with police.
"We are incredibly proud that our team swiftly alerted the authorities in this instance," said Kelly Bajorek, director of corporate communications for Sage Hospitality Group. "We are thankful to (the Denver Police Department) for their quick action to safely resolve this situation and will continue to work closely with them to support their investigation."
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