JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Guests at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Jacksonville told Action News Jax they’re still rattled after police said two people were shot inside the restroom of Morton’s Steakhouse, a restaurant on the first floor of the hotel, on Saturday night.
One guest, who tweeted a photo of the scene from his balcony, said there was an announcement of an active shooter downstairs.
Other guests claimed they weren’t made aware of the incident.
“I happened to look over the balcony and I saw all these police cars, police tape,” Howard Perch said.
His wife checked her phone and learned about the shooting from social media.
“Nothing. No intercom message, no phone call,” he said.
Perch felt Hyatt dropped the ball.
“Why didn’t anybody tell us? My biggest disappointment is that no one said anything to us. We were guests in the hotel, you had an active shooter, you didn’t catch him, so he was somewhere,” he added.
Perch no longer feels safe staying at the hotel.
Another guest tweeted that he took shelter in the security room, and claimed the security cameras did not record the incident.
Action News Jax reached out to Hyatt’s public relations team.
“The safety and security of our guests and colleagues is a top priority at Hyatt Regency Jacksonville. At this time, we can confirm an isolated incident occurred Saturday evening in the hotel lobby. We are fully cooperating with local authorities on their investigation, and all other inquiries should be directed to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office,” General Manager Joe Hindsley said.
However, Hyatt did not answer Action News Jax’s question about reports claiming security cameras did not record the incident.
Another guest, who wanted to remain anonymous for safety purposes, said his family ate at a restaurant across the street because they couldn’t get into Morton’s. That was when the shooting happened.
Like Perch, the guest also claimed there wasn’t any communication from the hotel.
“I went up to my room and tried to find out what was going on at first, but they weren’t really saying anything when we first got back,” he said.
He said he’s glad his family couldn’t get into Morton’s after all.
Action News Jax reached out to the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and asked about any protocols or rules hotels must follow in notifying guests of dangerous situations.
“We are unaware of any regulatory or other provision requiring guest disclosure of hotel security incidents,” a spokesperson said, adding, “because each property has a unique security risk profile and physical characteristics, FRLA leaves security advice to operators, law enforcement, and other security professionals.”
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said several witnesses fled the scene after the shooting and asked that anyone with pictures or videos share them with police.
Anyone with information can contact JSO at 904-630-0500. To remain anonymous, contact CrimeStoppers at 866-845-TIPS (8477).
©2021 Cox Media Group