W Hotel housekeeper alerts authorities to guns in guest’s room, but investigators not sure why he had the weapons

The Iowa man was ordered held on $10,000 bail.

SHARE W Hotel housekeeper alerts authorities to guns in guest’s room, but investigators not sure why he had the weapons
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The exterior of the W Lakeshore Chicago Hotel at 644 N. Lake Shore Dr.

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A housekeeping employee at the W Hotel near Navy Pier tipped off police about a guest who had a rifle, a handgun and ammunition in his room, leading to a weekend arrest that Chicago’s police superintendent says prevented a “tragedy from happening.”

The employee saw the weapons and five rifle magazines “laying in the window sill” of a room on Sunday and notified authorities, resulting in the arrest of Keegan Casteel, Police Supt. David Brown said Tuesday at a news conference held to discuss weekend violence.

Casteel, 32, of Ankeny, Iowa, was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

“This employee saw something by entering the room to clean it that likely prevented a tragedy from happening,” Brown said.

Speaking later Tuesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot also praised the hotel employee.

“Thank God for that hotel worker, who saw something and, I believe, averted disaster,” the mayor said at an unrelated news conference in Pullman.

However, Brown did not say if investigators had determined why the man had the guns in his hotel room.

“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 received a $10,000 bond during his initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon, meaning he’ll need to post $1,000 to be released. 

His next hearing was set for July 14.

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