Hostage freed after hourslong standoff at Las Vegas Strip resort room, police say
By KEN RITTER and BEATRICE DUPUY (Associated Press)
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A man was arrested and a woman described as his hostage was released unharmed Tuesday after an hourslong standoff in a room at the Caesars Palace resort on the Las Vegas Strip, police said.
No injuries were reported and police did not immediately say if the man in custody had been armed in a high-rise tower of the iconic Las Vegas Boulevard property. Furniture, cushions and other objects fell from a 21st floor window, frightening guests in a swimming pool area below.
“The suspect has been taken into custody. The female is currently with officers,” the department said in messages posted mid-afternoon Tuesday. Officer Aden OcampoGomez said the woman did not appear to be injured.
Las Vegas police Capt. Stephen Connell said the standoff began about 9:15 a.m. with a report from hotel security that a man and woman were arguing and that the man pulled the woman into a room “by force.”
Police SWAT officers secured the hallway outside the room, although Connell said it was not immediately clear if the man was armed.
Connell told reporters during the standoff that the woman believed to be held hostage “has been heard from,” and was believed to be “still OK.”
Outside, guests heard glass break and saw curtains billow from a broken window about two-thirds up the 29-story Palace Tower, one of six towers at Caesars Palace, an iconic and historic centerpiece of the Las Vegas Strip. The hotel has nearly 4,000 rooms.
Emma Snyder said she was near a resort swimming pool on her first day of vacation from Appleton, Wisconsin, when she heard several loud bangs and saw falling glass. She said it looked like sparkles.
“People were just staring up and looking,” she said.
Beverly Blackwell of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was lounging by a pool with her husband, Chris, when she heard glass break and saw curtains flutter from the broken window.
“When we saw the window shatter it was kind of a surreal feeling, it got pretty scary,” Blackwell said. “We were told to gather our stuff and rush out the back.”
Both Snyder and Blackwell told The Associated Press they thought there might be a shooter or attack. Staff yelled for guests to evacuate the pool area.
Snyder said some people hid by a staircase while items flew out the window: a coffee maker, a hair dryer, a desk bureau.
Blackwell said that after 30 minutes, people were told they could return to their rooms.
Broken glass and furniture fell intermittently for about an hour, said Associated Press writer John Marshall, who was on vacation with his family in a room on the fifth floor of the Palace Tower.
“It looks like he’s pretty much emptied the room of furniture,” Marshall said of the man police said was barricaded upstairs. Marshall saw seat cushions, a chair and other items hit a ledge outside the window of his room, and said some fell to the pool area after it had been evacuated.
Hotel employees told Marshall and his family that the incident was on the 21st floor and that guests on other floors were not evacuated or restricted from movements.
“In the casino, it’s business as usual,” Marshall said, although hotel security officers and police were visible in the guest valet area.
OcampoGomez, the Las Vegas police spokesperson, said there were no immediate reports of injuries to anyone in the pool area.
Marshall said he and his family had no initial word from the hotel about what was happening but said they remained in their room as a precaution. Hotel housekeeping staff members were still working in nearby rooms, he said.
In a statement after the arrest, Dayna Calkins, a spokesperson for the casino owner, Caesars Entertainment, referred to the standoff as “a security incident inside a guest room” that had been resolved. The statement credited Las Vegas police and the company’s “security and armed response teams.”
Dupuy reported from New York.