An Iowa man was arrested in Chicago after a semi-automatic rifle and semi-automatic handgun were allegedly found lying in the window sill of his hotel room by a housekeeper who alerted police.
Cops found a .308 caliber semi-automatic rifle that was not engraved with a serial number – and had a round in the chamber.
Police also found a high-power scope with laser-sight attachments, five magazines and a .45 caliber handgun, prosecutors said.
Chicago police found Keegan Casteel, 32, with the two weapons in a W Hotel room on July 4. The arrest was announced by David Brown, the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, during a detailed news conference about recent gun violence
Cops said Casteel has been charged with two felony counts of aggravated unlawful use of a loaded weapon without a Firearm Owners Identification card, required in the state of Illinois
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also praised the hotel worker for reporting Casteel’s ‘arsenal’
The weapons were found in the window sill of Room 1208 on the 12th floor of the hotel after receiving a tip from a housekeeping employee, according to WBBM-TV.
Authorities said that the rifle had been left in ‘in a very suspicious position’ and that the area was crowded with Independence Day revelers.
The arrest was announced by David Brown, the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, during a detailed news conference about recent gun violence in the Windy City.
‘This was unique that we’re still within COVID restrictions somewhat and this employee saw something by entering the room to clean it that likely prevented a tragedy from happening,’ Brown said.
‘So it’s significant – and very valuable. A lot of praise for that employee for making us aware so we could act quickly and potentially avoid a tragedy.’
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also praised the hotel worker for reporting Casteel’s ‘arsenal,’ WBBM-TV reported.
‘I want to thank the hotel worker who spotted this individual from Iowa who decided it was a good idea to come to our city with an arsenal, an AR-15, and five loaded magazines which he had perched up on the windowsill,’ Lightfoot said.
‘Thank God for that hotel worker, who saw something, and said something, and I believe averted disaster.’
It was not immediately clear why Casteel had weapons in his hotel room and if he had planned to use them.
‘There is no previous criminal history of this person nor any other issues in our federal databases, but obviously very concerning given the position of the W Hotel to Navy Pier,’ Brown said.
‘Our joint terrorism task force officers debriefed, interviewed this person along with a companion, and we are continuing this investigation,’ the superintendent said.
Casteel’s wife was also in the room and their two children were also on the trip, WLS-TV reported.
A sign in the hotel’s window spotted by NBC Chicago notes that guns are not allowed on the property
The weapons were found in the window sill of Room 1208 on the 12th floor of the hotel
The hotel room reportedly overlooked Ohio Street Beach in the 600 block of North Lake Shore Drive – which was crowded for Fourth of July revelry
The hotel is positioned near the historic Navy Pier in Chicago, pictured
According to the Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau, Illinois residents must have a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which is issued by the agency in order to legally possess firearms or ammunition.
Cops said Casteel has been charged with two felony counts of aggravated unlawful use of a loaded weapon without a FOID card.
A judge set his bond at $10,000 and ruled that Castell – who lives in Ankeny, Iowa – can return home while awaiting trial but must appear for all hearings, the next of which is scheduled for July 14.
Casteel was also ordered to turn in all of his weapons, outlets reported.
Prosecutors said Casteel has an Iowa gun permit, WLS-TV reported. However, Judge David Navarro told Casteel ‘clearly, we are not in Iowa.’
The outlet reported that Casteel owns an auto repair shop in Des Moines.
The W Hotel has directed comment to the Chicago Police Department, though a sign in the hotel’s window spotted by NBC Chicago notes that guns are not allowed on the property.
Brown said during the press conference that over Fourth of July weekend, officers recovered 244 illegal guns making 86 arrests for illegal gun possession. In addition, officers cleared 10 murder cases from June 28 to July 4.