‘If you think I won’t do it, watch this’; hotel cook backed up mass shooting threat with photos, warrant alleges

Court documents revealed this week give new insight into what convinced police that a hotel cook was planning a mass shooting at the Long Beach Marriott.

Before he was taken into custody last month, Rodolfo Montoya, 37, allegedly told a coworker about his step-by-step plan to shoot up his workplace, according to a search warrant filed in Long Beach Superior Court Sept. 17.

The bulk of the nine-page warrant is based on what that coworker told police about a conversation he had with Montoya while they worked in a hotel restaurant kitchen on Aug. 18.

“I am this close to being crazy!” Montoya reportedly said, upset about expired or lost benefits. Montoya then laid out details of a violent plan, down to his clothing, according to the warrant.

“He described himself wearing a long black jacket with heavy-duty body armor, black clothing, and a black hat,” Montoya’s coworker told police.

Armed with an AR rifle and a duffle bag full of ammo, Montoya said he’d come in through an employee entrance before working his way through the hotel’s kitchen, human resources offices and eventually the hotel restaurant, shooting everyone until police arrived, at which point he planned to shoot himself, according to the warrant.

Guns police said they found at Montoya’s home. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Montoya then showed the coworker pictures of guns and “decapitated human heads and limbs of male Hispanics,” the warrant says.

“If you think I won’t do it, watch this,” Montoya is accused of saying while flipping through the photos.

Montoya didn’t give any timeline for his plan, but he threatened the coworker to keep quiet about it, police wrote.

Nevertheless, the coworker told hotel management, who in turn alerted police on Aug. 19, according to authorities.

The next day, officers searched an RV where Montoya lived in Huntington Beach and arrested him.

They allegedly found a stash of weapons that included three handguns, three rifles, a shotgun, more than a dozen cans of ammo and other tactical gear.

Ammunition on display at a press conference. 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.

Montoya has pleaded not guilty to four felonies: possession of an assault weapon, intimidating a witness and two counts of criminal threats.

He could face more than five years in prison if he’s convicted and remains in jail on $500,000 bail after prosecutors told a judge they feared Montoya would flee to Mexico if he were freed.

His attorney didn’t immediately return a call Thursday.

Montoya worked as a cook at the Tamarindo’s Margarita Bar & Cantina at the Long Beach Marriott, which is near the intersection of Lakewood Boulevard and Spring Street, according to the warrant.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is managing 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.