Friday night, Jon Segarra and his family arrived at their Airbnb in South Lake Tahoe after a four-hour sojourn from the Bay Area, looking to get started on a snowy weekend.
As Segarra, a Hayward resident, unloaded the car with his girlfriend and sister, the six kids between them ran pell-mell into the house. As the kids squabbled over sleeping arrangements and searched the house for board games, Segarra’s 9-year-old son Joshua, flanked by his two younger siblings and cousin, opened a bedside drawer.
But instead of a checkers set or deck of cards, they found a badge. And a loaded handgun.
Both apparently belong to a Santa Clara County Sheriff deputy who previously stayed at the home, and left behind the police badge and .380 Ruger pistol, which officials say was his personal firearm.
“They were all like, “Oh, my god,” Segarra said.
The Sheriff’s Office confirmed Monday that both items belonged to one of its deputies, and has launched an internal investigation into the discovery. Late Monday afternoon, the office added via a statement that the deputy in question had been placed on paid administrative leave.
Hearing the kids shouting for him, Segarra rushed in and felt a flash of panic as he realized the gun was real — and with a full magazine. A registered gun owner himself, he said he unloaded the Ruger 380 in the kitchen and called South Lake Tahoe police, who arrived within about 10 minutes.
That same night, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office was informed that the gun and badge belong to one of their deputies, spokesperson Sgt. Michael Low said Monday. He added that in addition to the internal investigation, the Sheriff’s Office working with South Lake Tahoe police to explain how the gun was left there.
Low also affirmed that that the handgun was not an agency-issued weapon. There is no evidence that it was stolen, and a source familiar with the incident said the deputy, who stayed at the rental property earlier this month, realized he had forgotten the items but could not alert the property managers or Airbnb before Segarra’s family got there.
After the shock wore off, horrifying scenarios reeled through Segarra’s mind — first, whether there were any more weapons in the house, and second, what could have happened if the scene had played out just a little differently.
“My youngest, he’s three. What would have happened if he’d found it? He wouldn’t even know what it is,” said Segarra, a design strategist for a professional services firm. “This is my kids who found it, and it could have harmed my family.”
Per Airbnb’s policy, which bars any undisclosed or unsafely stored weapons in rental properties, the family was issued a refund. Low added that the Sheriff’s Office is thankful no one was injured.
TurnKey Vacation Rentals, the company that manages the Airbnb property, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
By Saturday morning, the children’s tears had dried and the family spent the day hot tubbing and sledding. Still, both adults and kids were left unsettled.
“People make mistakes, we’re human, I don’t want to hold it against someone,” Segarra said. “But it could have been worse, and I’m just thankful that it didn’t go the other way.”
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Two hotels planned near the Colorado Springs Airport passenger terminal will be larger than initially envisioned and share lobby and meeting space, according to new plans presented Monday to the Colorado Springs City Council.
The two hotels will include a 130-room Courtyard by Marriott that is expected to open in late 2021 and a similar-sized Residence Inn or equivalent Marriott brand that would open later, Greg Phillips, the city’s aviation director, told council members. The airport hopes to sell a 6-acre site in its Peak Innovation Park just south of Milton E. Proby Parkway by early April to a limited liability company set up by Atlanta-based Hotel Equities for $1.7 million, he said.
The council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the transaction, with most members indicating support at Monday’s meeting, even though the sale price is about $280,000 less than the appraised value. Phillips said the deal had already been renegotiated to a higher price and needs to be completed soon to take maximum advantage of federal tax benefits available because the site is in a federal Opportunity Zone. That program allows investors in such projects to delay paying federal income tax on investment profits until 2026.
“These hotels will provide hospitality services not just for Colorado Springs residents and visitors, but also for airport users from locations as far as northern New Mexico and western Kansas spend the night before taking early morning flights in much the same way the hotels on Tower Road near Denver International Airport do,” Phillips said. “This will also help continue the momentum of Peak Innovation Park and help repay the cost of extending utility service.”
Bob Cope, the city’s economic development officer, estimated that the hotels would generate an annual economic benefit of nearly $11 million and produce more than $700,000 a year in tax revenue for the city and the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, based on current tax rates. That is based on contractors for the Courtyard by Marriott project employing 535 people and the hotel employing 130 people.
The Courtyard by Marriott also would include a restaurant and 7,500 square feet of meeting space, among the most of any hotel near the airport and possibly including a secure Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, Phillips said. The information facility is a room secured from bugs where classified meetings for the military or its contractors may be held.
The second hotel, which would share lobby, restaurant and meeting space with the first hotel, would be started after the Courtyard by Marriott hotel is completed and open by 2023. A third, larger hotel with extensive meeting space and other amenities is envisioned north of Milton E. Proby Parkway.
The 900-acre development area at the airport also houses offices for defense contractor Northrop Grumman and federal research nonprofit Aerospace Corp., an Army air terminal and a delivery station for online retail giant Amazon. The airport uses income from the park to offset its expenses and keep costs low for airlines and passengers.
Hotel Equities also is a partner in a 259-room hotel under construction in downtown Colorado Springs that is set to open under Marriott’s Element and SpringHill Suites brands in 2021. The company operates a Fairfield Inn & Suites near the Air Force Academy and more than 140 other hotels in 24 states and three Canadian provinces.
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