Quick brief, 20 January 2023: Shooting, standoff at Hilton hotel, property damage done

20 January, 2023 Hotel Attacks

(Muir Analytics’ Quick Brief is broadly based on the Pentagon EXSUM briefing method. The aim is to quickly explain an evolving hotel threat issue in about 15 lines in executive summary format. Muir has added a quick analysis of the issue that can help hotels mitigate certain risks.)


Chain of events

  1. WIS News 10 reports that at around 1:00 pm on 17 January 2023, police in Columbia, SC, received a call from the Hilton Garden Inn Columbia Airport regarding domestic violence.
  2. A female victim provided the alleged offender’s room number.
  3. Upon making contact, the perpetrator said he would shoot the police.
  4. Crisis negotiations failed.
  5. The perpetrator began shooting through the hotel room door, and he fired multiple rounds inside the hotel room as well.
  6. WLTX News 19 says he also smashed out his hotel room window and fired multiple rounds in the direction of a nearby highway, prompting police to shut down all nearby roads.
  7. He also fired at police in the parking lot, and police fired back.
  8. Amidst the perpetrator’s shooting, estimated by police to be 15 rounds, at least one of his bullets hit a police car or a civilian vehicle nearby.
  9. Police deployed a drone and robots to reconnoiter the situation more closely.
  10. Seven hours into the standoff, police breached the room with an entry team and a K-9 unit.
  11. Police fired and hit the offender, and the K-9 engaged as well.
  12. The subject was arrested and treated for his injuries.
  13. He was charged with: Attempted murder, discharging a firearm into a vehicle, two counts of discharging a firearm into a dwelling, three counts of malicious injury to personal property, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.


There are four takeaways here. First, domestic violence situations at hotels are not uncommon, and they occasionally spiral out of control, especially with persons experiencing emotional problems, extreme stress, and/or harboring disdain for the police. Some domestic violence perpetrators are high on narcotics, and some try to induce a “suicide by cop” scenario. It is not clear if that was the case here, but it has some hallmarks of a “suicide by cop” situation.

Second, based on current reporting, it appears the police handled the situation professionally and effectively. They applied negotiating procedures, collected intelligence on the threat via intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance (ISR) technology, and the breach and arrest ended without anyone else but the perpetrator being harmed.

Third, hotels are the world’s most violent commercial sector, and the US has more hotel violence than any other country. Domestic violence cases like this one are not uncommon, but most US hotel violence is drug and prostitution based and perpetrated by ex-felons who are not allowed to own firearms. Gun laws are meaningless to these career criminals.

Fourth, cases like this also demonstrate the need for niche “hotel crime insurance” to cover said damages. Estimated damages are:

  1. Multiple rounds fired through the hotel door.
  2. At least two rounds fired in the hotel, damaging furniture and/or the walls or ceiling.
  3. A broken hotel window.
  4. Blood on the carpet and/or bedding from the police shooting the suspect.

Cleanup by a licensed human trauma cleaning crew, temporary repairs of the hotel window and door, and permanent repairs and replacement costs could easily run over $5,000.00.

Muir Analytics runs the world’s largest, most sophisticated hotel violence database – the SecureHotel Threat Portal – with over 2,400 hotel attacks (and growing.) We can provide the hospitality sector with intelligence that facilitates full-spectrum risk reduction, which helps hotels protect guests, staff, buildings, brands, and revenues. Contact us for a consultation:  1-833-DATA-444.

Sources and further reading:

Suspect in West Columbia hotel shooting faces attempted murder charges, bond denied,” WIS News 10, 18 January 2023.

Police: Man shot out of West Columbia hotel window during 7-hour standoff,” WLTX News 19, 17 January 2023.

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