DENVER — One of the four suspects arrested Friday at the Maven Hotel in Lower Downtown said he was at the hotel for a drug deal and didn't want to hurt anyone or know anything about the weapons that were found in the room.
Gabriel Rodriguez, 48, spoke to 9NEWS reporter Marc Sallinger from the Denver jail on Monday.
"I might have done some stupid things in my life, but murder is not one," Gabriel Rodriguez said. "Stabbing is not one. I’ve never done that. I’m sorry I sold drugs. I’m sorry I did that."
Gabriel Rodriquez, along with Kanoelehua Serikawa, 43, and Ricardo Rodriguez, 44, appeared in court on Monday. Richard Platt, 42, had his first court appearance on Sunday.
At the appearances in Denver County Court, the Denver District Attorney's Office labeled Ricardo Rodriguez as the leader of the group, who rented two rooms at the hotel.
Ricardo Rodriguez also spoke to 9NEWS on Monday and said he was at that hotel so that he could take part in some of the festivities around All Star Week but never intended to harm anyone and wasn't involved in the alleged drug deal.
"I was there to enjoy the festivities. I was going to try and enjoy and All Star ball game, at least from the outskirts of it," he said. "It would never be my intentions to sit there and fire live rounds into an audience where families are present wanting to have fun."
> Watch the full interview with Ricardo Rodriguez below.
The four suspects were arrested Friday at the hotel at 1850 Wazee St. after a member of the hotel's cleaning staff entered one of the group's rooms on the 8th floor and found multiple firearms, according to the Denver Police Department (DPD) Probable Cause (PC) statements in the case.
"I just want to apologize to the whole United States, to Colorado. I had nothing to do with that man," Gabriel Rodriguez said. "I didn’t know that he had all these guns up there. If I would have known that he had all these guns up there, I wouldn’t even have gone up there... Ok, I did sell drugs. I’m sorry. I f***ed up and I regret that. But, I would never hurt anybody in any way with a gun. That’s not me, man."
> Watch the full interview with Gabriel Rodriguez below.
(Editor's Note: Video contains profanity)
PC statements for the four suspects shed more light on the circumstances of their arrests.
After a cleaning staff member alerted her supervisor to the firearms in Room 809, hotel staff found that the man who rented the room, Ricardo Rodriguez, had originally intended to check out that day, but instead requested several more days and got another room with a balcony that overlooked the alley outside the hotel, the PC statements say.
Hotel staff also found vehicles associated with the rooms in the parking garage that had a ballistic vest, a duty belt and a high-capacity magazine in plain view, according to the PC statements.
Denver Police then conducted search warrants.
"In general, a warrant has to be based on more than mere suspicion, but in this particular case, the Denver Police followed a step-by-step procedure and had ample probable cause for the issuance of warrants," said 9NEWS legal expert Scott Robinson. "If one of these individuals had simply refused entry and all the police had was the observation of a firearm in one of the rooms, that would not have given the police any kind of right to barge in and force a search of any of the rooms involved."
Documents show that police searched the two rooms and found a large number of ecstasy pills and heroin and a large amount of U.S. currency.
Firearms were found in both rooms. In Room 403, there were about 12 firearms, the PC statements say. It was unclear from the PC statements how many firearms were in Room 809.
Platt was arrested after he left Room 403 and headed to the hotel basement. Officers found Serikawa in Room 403, and Ricardo Rodriguez was found and arrested in Room 809, the PC statements say.
Gabriel Rodriguez was arrested in the area of one of the rooms and was carrying a backpack that when it was searched contained a loaded 9mm handgun, a large quantity of methamphetamine and heroin in baggies and more than $1,000 in cash, the statements say.
In one of the PC statements, a DPD officer who responded to the scene noted that the suspects were renting rooms just before the MLB All-Star Game. He pointed out the firearms, the ballistic vest, the duty belt and the fact that Ricardo Rodriguez had requested a room with a balcony.
"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," according to the PC statement.
Denver leaders on Sunday assured the public they are safe to take part in MLB All-Star Game festivities and tried to quell speculation about what the suspects were arrested for.
DPD Chief Paul Pazen declined to rule out any theories as to what the suspects' intentions were, citing his agency's ongoing investigation.
FBI Denver released a statement on Sunday saying in part, "We have no reason to believe this incident was connected to terrorism or a threat directed at the All-Star Game," the FBI said in a statement. "We are not aware of any threat to the All-Star Game events, venues, players or the community at this time."
Magistrate Judge Kathleen Boland set Platt's bail on Sunday at $50,000 cash despite his objection, citing the court's "grave public safety concerns given the underlying facts as they are currently alleged."
Judge Tanja Wheeler on Monday set bail for Gabriel Rodriguez and Serikawa at $50,000 each and for Ricardo Rodriguez at $75,000.
The suspects were arrested on suspicion of:
- Platt: possession of a weapon by a previous offender, two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and a warrant from another jurisdiction.
- Gabriel Rodriguez: possession of a weapon by a previous offender and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
- Ricardo Rodriguez: possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
- Serikawa: possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and a warrant from another jurisdiction.
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