Keegan Casteel’s arrest for having a laser-scoped rifle and pistol in his hotel room over the July 4 holiday weekend led Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Superintendent David Brown to suggest that he may have had the Intent to shoot the crowds of Navy Pier from his hotel window.
Casteel’s attorney has said those comments were unfounded and sparked sensational media coverage while his client was in Chicago to propose to his girlfriend, not to launch a mass attack. He also suggested that the guns made the Ankeny, Iowa man feel safer in a crime-ridden city.
A message was left Friday seeking comment from Casteel’s attorney, Jonathan Brayman, on the police body camera images released Thursday.
Casteel, 32, was charged with two felonies of aggravated illegal use of a weapon after a member of the Hotel W cleaning staff discovered the weapons and ammunition. Prosecutors have said a grand jury would review the case.
The weapons were found on the windowsill of Casteel’s 12th-floor hotel room overlooking Ohio Street Beach and Navy Pier, a major tourist attraction.
“Why didn’t you leave your firearms at home?” an officer asks Casteel in the police footage.
Casteel responds that he forgot to remove all the firearms from his shooting bag because he hurriedly packed after his son was injured and hospitalized the night before leaving with his girlfriend and children for Chicago.
He said he took the guns and ammunition out of the bag and left them in the hotel room so that he could use the bag on the beach.
“I didn’t expect anything to happen. I just left them there for the day. I went to the beach. I came back. I went shopping,” Casteel told officers, adding that he planned to propose to his girlfriend.
“It’s my fault. I didn’t mean to scare anyone. I understand 100% why I’m here. But like I said, it’s an honest accident,” Casteel said.
Casteel was released on $ 10,000 bail after a judge reminded him that Chicago gun laws are different than Iowa. Once he was released from the police station, he proposed.