The article below was published from USA Today on November 2, 2019.
Airbnb bans 'party houses' after 5 die in Halloween party shooting at home rental
Airbnb is banning "party houses" after five people were killed and several were wounded in a shooting at a Halloween party at a Northern California home rental.
"We are redoubling our efforts to combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct, including conduct that leads to the terrible events we saw in Orinda," CEO Brian Chesky announced in a series of tweets Saturday.
Chesky said the company would be expanding manual screening of high-risk reservations, creating a dedicated “party house” rapid response team and taking immediate action against users who violate guest policies.
Chesky also said he has directed an Airbnb executive to oversee the rapid response team and initiate a "10 day sprint" to implement the new safety initiatives.
Police in Orinda, a suburb of San Francisco, were called to the house twice Thursday evening regarding a noise complaint. Just as an officer was headed to the home to investigate the calls, reports of a shooting came in, according to Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office.
Officers arrived at "a highly chaotic scene" to find gunshot victims, injured partygoers, and numerous people fleeing the house. Three people were pronounced deceased at the scene, and two later died of injuries at the hospital.
According to the sheriff's office, more than 100 partygoers from throughout the Bay Area attended the Halloween event, which was advertised on social media. The "Airbnb Mansion" party was scheduled to open at 10 p.m., and guests were asked to bring their own booze, according to local KTVU-TV.
“Our whole neighborhood heard it, and then people were screaming and fleeing,” a neighbor, Chris Gade, told the San San Francisco Chronicle. “We could see from our windows. There were a lot of people walking around who were hurt.”
Michael Wang, 58, who owns the property, told the Chronicle that the party’s host rented the house through Airbnb and claimed she was holding a family reunion for 12 people. Wang said he called the police on his own house when he began receiving noise complaints from neighbors and noticed large crowds in his security camera.
Authorities identified the five victims as 22-year-old Tiyon Farley of Antioch, 24-year-old Omar Taylor of Pittsburg, 23-year-old Ramon Hill Jr. of San Francisco/Oakland, 29-year-old Javin County of Sausalito/Richmond and 19-year-old Oshiana Tompkins of Vallejo/Hercules.
"This will barely make the news today. That's how numb we have become to this," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday on Twitter. "Our hearts are aching for the victims and all those affected by this horrific tragedy."
Newsom called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass gun reform to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
The investigation is ongoing.
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