DENVER – The man whom prosecutors believe was the “leader” of the group of four people arrested Friday at the Maven Hotel on suspicion of weapons and drug offenses was supposed to check out of the two rooms he rented on Friday, but asked to stay for longer and requested a room with a balcony, according to police documents.
Additionally, the probable cause statements for the arrests of the four people say that the discovery of firearms, a ballistic vest, a duty belt and the new room request were “concerning” to police because the Major League Baseball All-Star Game events are taking place in the area.
“There is a 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,” the probable cause statement for one of the men arrested.
The documents were released by the Denver Police Department after three of the suspects made court appearances Monday morning and had their bonds set along with their next court dates. The documents are among the first bits of information released by the department about what led to the arrests on Friday.
Denver7 reported Saturday night that officers feared a “Las Vegas-style shooting” after a housekeeper at the hotel notified her supervisor she had found several guns inside a room she was cleaning, and that police found more than a dozen weapons, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and suspected drugs after serving warrants on a hotel room.
Ricardo Rodriguez, 44; Gabriel Rodriguez, 48; Richard Platt, 42; and Knoelehua Serikawa, 43, were all arrested and held on suspicion of weapons or drug offenses, or warrants from outside Denver.
Platt made his first appearance Sunday and saw his bond set at $50,000. The three others appeared in front of Judge Tanja Wheeler Monday morning.
Denver Deputy District Attorney Michelle Williams said prosecutors believe that Ricardo Rodriguez “seems to be the leader of this entire incident” and requested he be held on a $75,000 cash-only bond, which the judge granted. He had been employed in Washington and was planning on moving to Colorado, an attorney representing Rodriguez said in court. Rodriguez also claimed to have worked for multiple federal agencies over the past decade-plus.
Gabriel Rodriguez and Serikawa both had their bonds set at $50,000 cash.
The probable cause statements released by the Denver Police Department confirm some of what Denver7 reported over the weekend – that a housekeeper had noticed the weapons and alerted a supervisor, and that police had feared a mass shooting could have been possible. But they also contain some new details about what led to the arrest of the four people.
After the housekeeper found the guns in one of the rooms — both were rented by Ricardo Rodriguez, according to the documents — the supervisor checked vehicles associated with the rooms “and could plainly see in the vehicles plate carriers and high capacity magazines,” according to one of the probable cause statements. The other said a ballistic vest and duty belt could be seen in a white Mercedes with an Idaho license plate.
Officers set up surveillance, and eventually saw Platt leave one of the rooms and Gabriel Rodriguez inside the hotel, at which time they were arrested. Rodriguez allegedly had a gun, meth and heroin inside a backpack he was wearing. Police also wrote search warrants for the rooms, and as they waited for them to be signed, Serikawa was “ordered out” of a room and arrested on a warrant out of Longmont.
Officers got the warrants signed and served them around 10:30 p.m. Friday, according to the probable cause statements. In one room, they found suspected ecstasy and heroin, a “large amount of US currency” and about a dozen guns.
They found Ricardo Rodriguez in the other room that had been rented and found “numerous firearms” inside that room as well before arresting him on suspicion of possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
The three suspects in court Monday had their next court appearances set for next Monday, July 19.
In a jailhouse interview Monday afternoon, Gabriel Rodriguez said he had been at the hotel to sell a pound of methamphetamine and some heroin to Platt and that he knew nothing about the dozen-plus guns or any other plot.
“I was there to drop off a pound of dope, some heroin, and I’m sorry I had a gun on me. That’s what dope dealers do,” he said.
He said Platt had called him and told him to meet him at the hotel with the drugs.
“He wouldn’t answer the phone. I was going to leave, and by the time I was fixing to leave, next thing you know, I have the SWAT team on me,” he said.
“I should’ve known better,” Gabriel Rodriguez added. “…I would never hurt people like that in a million – I would never do that to anybody. … I’m telling you sincerely with all my heart. … I didn’t know they were up to no good, I didn’t know they were up to that. All I was there was to drop drugs off, man. That’s the honest truth.”
Gabriel Rodriguez said in the interview he has two boys and that he knows he “f---ed up.”
“I should have known better, but I let the best get to me because I needed the money.”
In a jailhouse interview Monday evening, Ricardo Rodriguez claimed he was in town to watch the All-Star Game and denied renting both rooms and denied that there were drugs in his room. He said Platt was an “acquaintance” he had met in Idaho and that Platt was going to show him around Denver and Boulder.
He said he saw guns in the possession of Platt but said he did not know what anyone’s intentions were with the weapons. Rodriguez also claimed he had disabled some of the weapons.
“It all seems really, really strange,” he said. “But ultimately, I don’t think that man was aggressively planning … to, you know, shoot into a crowd. But I can’t say what his intentions were.”
On Saturday night, multiple informed law enforcement sources connected with the investigation told Denver7’s Liz Gelardi and Denver7 chief investigative reporter Tony Kovaleski that they had found weapons and ammunition inside a room at the Maven Hotel, located at 1850 Wazee St., that had a balcony overlooking the downtown area. The sources said they recovered 16 long guns, body armor and hundreds of rounds of ammunition from the room on Friday.
Multiple law enforcement sources said one of the suspects had posted on Facebook referencing a recent divorce where he said he was going to “go out in a big way.”
On Sunday, the Federal Bureau of Investigations said they were not aware of any threats to the All-Star Game and did not believe the arrests had any connection with a planned threat at the event.
Later that day, Denver city officials, including Mayor Michael Hancock, Police Chief Paul Pazen and Executive Director of Denver's Department of Public Safety Murphy Robinson, assured the public that All-Star Game events are safe to attend.
“We want to reassure everyone that there is no ongoing threat, and that it is safe to enjoy the festivities throughout downtown Denver,” Hancock said. “Our police department moved in and abated a pretty serious situation.”
Pazen said the investigation is ongoing into why the suspects were in Denver and at the Maven in the first place.
“What I can say is that, through the great work of the staff at the Maven, and the great work by our officers, that this is a safer city. Taking guns off the street, taking narcotics off the street is a good thing for the people of Denver," he said Sunday.
The investigation is active and Denver police encourage anyone with information to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.