Gun left in Marriott hotel room
July 4, 2008
A Colorado man mistakenly left a gun in a Park City hotel room’s nightstand, later realizing the gun was in the room and calling the hotel to retrieve the weapon.
Sean Hayes, who is from Aspen, Colo., recently left a semiautomatic .22-caliber pistol, part of gun manufacturer Walther’s P22 line. He had stayed in the room and realized he had forgotten his weapon when he left, the Police Department says.
Hayes says he called the hotel, which then called the police. He was vacationing in Park City when he left the gun. Hayes says he uses the gun for target practice and says he keeps the gun in his car all the time to easily visit the shooting range.
When he arrived at the Marriott Mountainside at Park City Mountain Resort, he realized the gun was with him. Instead of leaving it in the car, he brought it into his room at the Mountainside for safekeeping, he says. He then forgot it when he left. He describes the gun as being less powerful than most models.
"It’s not a gun the police would carry," he says.
Rick Ryan, a Police Department captain, say a Marriott housekeeper turned the gun into a hotel manager. The manager then secured it in a hotel safe. Ryan says the gun was found wrapped in a towel.
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Ryan says the owner had kept it in a way that rendered it unable to shoot. A plastic tie had been placed through the barrel and the gun’s slide, which Ryan describes as the mechanism that places a bullet into the chamber.
A magazine containing nine rounds was found in the nightstand as well. Someone at the hotel safely removed the rounds from the magazine, Ryan says.
The Police Department collected the gun and the ammunition magazine and stored them in a secured location where evidence is held at the police station. Hayes says a friend of his plans to retrieve the gun.
"It appears he just forgot it was there," Ryan says.
The police investigated whether the gun had been reported stolen. It had not.
The gun owner checked out the morning before the housekeeper found the gun, Ryan says.
But Hayes brought the gun to the Marriott apparently in violation of the hotelier’s rules. A spokesman for Marriott Vacation Club, the division that operates the Mountainside, says guns are generally banned from rooms like those at the Mountainside, and he understands the ban is nationwide.
James Woelbern, the spokesman, says exceptions are made if law-enforcement officers are staying at a Marriott property. If someone at the Mountainside realized the person had a gun, they would have asked the person to take the firearm off the property for storage, Woelbern says.
The case was unusual for the Police Department, which only occasionally is called about misplaced guns.
Utah has liberal gun laws, with people holding concealed-weapons permits being allowed to take their guns to places like schools. Utah lawmakers have long held an expansive view of the gun rights granted in the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
"It could be for self-protection. It could be for target practice. And people make a habit of carrying weapons with them," Ryan says.