UPDATE: Woman sought in shooting incident at Janesville Holiday Inn
JANESVILLE—Authorities were still searching Thursday for a woman who robbed and shot at a man at the Holiday Inn Express late Tuesday during what police said was a “prostitution arrangement” that turned into an armed robbery.
Janesville Police Sgt. Chad Pearson said Wednesday that authorities were looking for Latoya Hill, 20, of 722½ Park St., Beloit.
Pearson said Hill is suspected of firing two bullets from a 9 mm handgun at Canadian man who was trying to set up a “prostitution arrangement” at about 9 p.m. Tuesday while he was staying in a room at the Holiday Inn Express, 3100 Wellington Drive.
“The victim was in the area for business reasons or traveling through,” Pearson said. “He got a room at the Holiday Inn Express and ended up making a connection with Latoya Hill through an app, one of those 'meet me” apps to meet or make arrangements.”
Pearson said investigators believe Hill showed up at the man's hotel room with another person. Hill then pulled out a handgun and demanded money from the man. The man handed Hill the money, Pearson said.
At that point, the person who Hill had brought along—who Pearson said was apparently unaware of Hill's intentions—ran out of the room.
At some point during the robbery, the man and Hill began to argue. Hill fired the gun at the man, missing him. The bullet went into the ceiling, Pearson said.
Hill then fired a second time and missed the man again, he said.
The man then lunged at Hill, and the two grappled over the gun in a fight that Pearson said spilled into the hallway. Another hotel guest, whom Pearson called a “good Samaritan,” heard the fight, ran out of his own room and wrestled the gun away from Hill and the man.
Hill then ran out the hotel and fled in a red Chevrolet Monte Carlo sedan.
Janesville police had not said Hill had been captured as of Thursday evening. She is suspected of armed robbery and first-degree attempted homicide, according to an earlier news release.
The Janesville Police Department and the Rock County Sheriff's Office, who had responded to the shooting, moved guests into a secure area of the hotel while officers conducted a search.
Police were able to quickly locate and speak with the Canadian man, the guest who had pulled the gun away and the person who accompanied Hill, Pearson said, because all three stayed on scene.
Pearson said all three were “cooperative” with police, and police have recovered the gun used in the robbery.
Police made no other arrests in the shooting, and Pearson said he wanted to make clear that the shooting was not a “random act.”
“I've been trying to make really, really clear this was an isolated event that was brought to the city of Janesville by people not from Janesville,” Pearson said. “There is no immediate concern for safety in the community regarding the event.”
He said Janesville-area police have heard of few recent armed robberies at local hotels, but he said police are becoming more tuned into such incidents because of a known rise in human trafficking.
Authorities say anyone who has information on the hotel shooting should call the Janesville Police Department at 608-755-3100.
Last updated: 4:15 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2017