By the time Douglas Murphy was arrested for allegedly tormenting a Black family staying at a south Littleton hotel by threatening them with a gun and using racist language, he had been on the radar of hotel managers in Littleton and Lone Tree for alleged threatening, racist behavior for more than a month, according to a police report.
Murphy, 51, was arrested on Sept. 20 at the Staybridge Suites near C-470 and Santa Fe Drive, according to Littleton Police. He was charged with felony menacing and bias-motivated crimes, and as of Oct. 16 was still in the Arapahoe County jail, held on $25,000 bond.
According to an incident report obtained by Colorado Community Media, Murphy was arrested on Sept. 20 after allegedly repeatedly ringing the doorbell on the room of a Black couple. The woman said when she opened the door, Murphy brandished a handgun and said, “(N-word), you don't belong here.”
Police were quickly able to identify Murphy as the suspect after speaking with the hotel's general manager, who said he believed Murphy was the man who accosted the same couple two days earlier on the hotel's patio.
Numerous guests reported a man fitting Murphy's description as saying “(N-word)s go back home” to the couple before running off on Sept. 18, according to a front desk clerk interviewed by police. Guests then reported hearing a gunshot, the clerk said, and began flooding into the lobby.
The clerk called 911 and told guests to go to their rooms and lock the doors, he said. Responding officers were unable to locate a suspect or evidence of a shot being fired. The clerk said he later told frightened guests the noise had come from a firework.
Later in the day, one of the guests allegedly accosted by Murphy approached the desk clerk and asked to be transferred to another hotel, but left when Murphy arrived. The guest later told police Murphy followed him to his room, saying “you don't belong here.”
The clerk said he had been unnerved by Murphy earlier in the day because Murphy had told the clerk he and his friends needed to “do something” about the “rough-looking crowd” outside, which the clerk took to mean the Black family sitting on the patio.
Police contacted Murphy at his hotel room, where he initially denied knowing anything about either incident, saying he thought the call to police was “some Black family trying to frame me.”
Police recovered a handgun from Murphy's room, as well as two ammunition magazines, one of which was one round short of full.
Members of the family who accused Murphy of threatening them with a gun positively identified him, and Murphy was placed under arrest.
In an affidavit provided by the 18th Judicial District, police reported they were told Murphy was suspected of “similar incidents” at the Staybridge Suites near Park Meadows in Lone Tree.
The Littleton hotel is owned by KWB Hotels, a South Dakota-based hotelier that operates a handful of hotels around the country as franchises. The Lone Tree location is owned and operated by IHG, a British hotel giant that owns nearly 6,000 hotels around the world.
KWB vice president Dan Boyum said staff at the Littleton hotel had no knowledge of prior incidents involving Murphy.
“We do not own or operate the Lone Tree property and have no relationship or communication with the ownership or management of that hotel,” Boyum said in an email. “We have no knowledge of any other similar incident at the Staybridge Suites in Lone Tree or anywhere else for that matter. We have no idea how the connection to the other similar incident was made. Our management and staff were not aware of the other incident at the Lone Tree Staybridge Suites.”
The police report, however, states that the general manager of the Littleton hotel told police he had received a call from the general manager of the Lone Tree location in mid-August, warning him that Murphy had been harassing Black guests at the Lone Tree hotel, but had checked out with the intention of moving to the Littleton hotel.
The Lone Tree manager told police that two separate Black families told him that someone slipped threatening notes under their doors. The manager said he suspected Murphy was the culprit, telling police Murphy had been “acting like an unofficial hall monitor, pointing out people and cars he thought management should look into," according to the report.
The Lone Tree manager instructed staff to give letters to all guests on Murphy's floor asking them to immediately report any harassment, the report says. Murphy checked out after the manager changed a policy Murphy had been using to rebook rooms using a one-day discount code.
A spokesperson for IHG, which owns the Lone Tree location, said in an email: “The safety and security of our guests and colleagues is always our top priority. In this case, we appreciate the efforts of law enforcement to safely manage the situation and would refer you to them for any details or questions on the investigation.”
Murphy is next scheduled to appear in court, for a preliminary hearing, on Nov. 3.
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