Police: Man with guns sought balcony near MLB All-Star Game
DENVER (AP) — A man described by authorities as the leader of a group of four people arrested with more than a dozen weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at a Denver hotel near events planned for the upcoming Major League Baseball All-Star Game asked to extend his stay and requested another room with a balcony, according to arrest documents released Monday.
The request by Ricardo Rodriquez coupled with the discovery of weapons and tactical gear on Friday concerned police because of the “propensity for mass casualty incidents in scenarios such as the above where many people are gathered together in a small area for a single event,” one of the documents said. However, the documents did not contain any evidence that they were planning violence against people participating in All-Star Game events.
On Sunday, the FBI said it had no reason to believe the arrests were connected to terrorism or that there was a threat against the game. However, police Chief Paul Pazen said the same day that police still needed to investigate why they were in the hotel. Police declined to comment on the investigation Monday beyond providing the arrest documents.
Rodriquez, 44, was arrested for investigation of possessing weapons as a previous offender after a housekeeper at the hotel spotted some guns and notified her boss. Richard Platt and Gabriel Rodriguez were both arrested for investigation of possessing a weapon as a previous offender and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Kanoelehua Serikawa was arrested for investigation of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and for a warrant from another jurisdiction.
In a video interview in jail, Ricardo Rodriguez told KCNC-TV he had arrived from Washington State on Thursday, planning to move to Colorado, when mutual friends introduced him to Platt, who recommended they stay at the hotel a block away from Coors Field. He said Platt had a lot a of weapons but was not aware of any plans for mass violence.
During a court hearing Monday, Rodriguez’s court-appointed lawyer said he was employed and trying to move to Colorado, where he has family. Rodriguez tried to speak but was cut off by Judge Tanja Wheeler who said she did not want him to incriminate himself. Wheeler said she had serious concerns about the threat to the community posed by the suspects because of the amount of guns and drugs found. She said Ricardo Rodriguez, who prosecutors say paid for both hotel rooms, could only be released from jail if he paid $75,000 in cash and stayed at least a mile away from the hotel. She set bond for Gabriel Rodriguez and Kanoelehua Serikawa at $50,000 cash with the same area restriction.
Serikawa’s lawyer, Trent Mannina, said she was only present in one of the rooms and had only “peripheral involvement” in the case. Wheeler said she would be open to changing that if the police’s investigation found that to be true. Gabriel Rodriguez’s lawyer did not address the allegations against him and reserved the right to argue for his release from jail later.
Bond was also set at $50,000 for Platt, who appeared in court on Sunday. His lawyer told the judge Platt had been working construction for about two years and was not a risk for running away to avoid prosecution.
All four remained in jail on Monday.