Iowa man arrested with rifle, magazines in Chicago lakefront hotel

July 6 (UPI) -- Authorities in Chicago said Tuesday that an Iowa man was taken into police custody during A violent July Fourth weekend after a hotel employee notified officers of a rifle and handgun placed in "a very suspicious position" in one of the rooms.

The employee of the W Hotel alerted police to the weapons at 5:45 p.m Sunday, and arrested 32-year-old Keegan Casteel, of Ankeny, Iowa.


Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown told reporters during a press conference that the unnamed employee who notified police of the guns after entering the room to clean "likely prevented a tragedy from happening."

Brown said officers found five rifle magazines and the guns stationed on a window sill of the room. Prosecutors said later Tuesday that there were four magazines on the sill along with the semi-automatic rifle with a bullet in its chamber, WLS reported.

The room was on the 12th floor of the hotel facing Ohio Street Beach, the prosecutors said.

Brown said the situation was "very concerning" as the hotel overlooks the popular tourist destination of Navy Pier where scores of people were celebrating the Fourth of July.


After his arrest, CPD's joint terrorism task force officers interviewed Casteel and a "companion," Brown said.

"We are continuing this investigation," said the police chief.

Casteel admitted to owning the guns and though he was licensed to hold the weapons in his home state of Iowa he does not have a Firearm Owners Identification Card for the state of Illinois, according to prosecutors, CBS Chicago reported.

He has been charged with two felony counts of unlawful use of a weapon.

Brown said Casteel had no previous criminal record nor did his name return any issues of concern from federal databases.

Casteel is being held on a $10,000 bond after appearing Tuesday before a Cook County judge.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said separately that she is "not happy" that Casteel will likely be released on bail, stating there was "something more nefarious" to his actions over the July Fourth weekend.

"I've traveled to many states in my day. I didn't think to take an arsenal with me. This wasn't a firearm for personal protection. What he had was weapons of war," she said.

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