Hotel cook who threatened mass shooting gets 3 years, 8 months in prison

A hotel cook who threatened to go on a shooting rampage at a Long Beach Marriott was sentenced today to three years and eight months in prison.

Rodolfo Montoya—in handcuffs and a blue jail jumpsuit—said little during the hearing, answering only procedural questions through a translator before waving to three women in the audience as a bailiff led him away.

The 37-year-old pleaded no contest earlier this month to two counts of making criminal threats. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped two other charges: possession of an assault weapon and intimidating a witness.

“As a result of these convictions, you are banned for life from owning or possessing any firearm,” Judge Richard M. Goul told Montoya. All the guns Montoya currently owns will be seized by law enforcement and destroyed, Goul said.

Police said they found these guns at Rodolfo Montoya’s home. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Police arrested Montoya last year after he threatened a coworker in the kitchen of the Long Beach Marriott at 4700 Airport Plaza Drive, according to authorities.

On Aug. 18, Montoya was upset about losing some benefits at work and told the fellow employee he “had a plan to go kill all of us,” the coworker testified at a preliminary hearing.

As he detailed his plan to massacre hotel workers and guests before shooting himself, Montoya showed the coworker photos of a “machine gun” and a “chopped up body” on his phone, the coworker said from the stand.

The next day, the coworker told his supervisor about the threats, and hotel management reported it to police, according to authorities.

On Aug. 20, police raided Montoya’s motorhome in Huntington Beach. They found three handguns, three rifles, a shotgun, at least a dozen cans of ammo and other tactical gear, according to authorities. Laid out on his bed was an AR-15 rifle, police said.

Ammunition on display at a press conference where officials announced the arrest of Rodolfo Montoya, who is accused of plotting a mass shooting at a hotel in Long Beach. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Ammunition on display at a press conference where officials announced the arrest of Rodolfo Montoya, who was accused of plotting a mass shooting at a hotel in Long Beach. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Montoya “had the motive, means, and intention to carry out a mass shooting of employees and guests at the Long Beach Marriott Hotel,” prosecutors previously wrote in court documents.

Before Monday’s hearing ended, Goul warned Montoya that the two crimes he’d been convicted of were serious felonies. If he’s found guilty of another such crime, he could face 25 years to life in prison, the judge said.

The women Montoya motioned to in court declined to speak after the hearing.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children.
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