Airbnb plans legal action against guest who booked property where a shooting happened
Updated April 18, 2022 at 6:25 PM ET
A shooting at a Pittsburgh house party attended by as many as 200 people — many of them underage — left two minors dead and eight others shot and injured early Sunday.
At least one of the gunshot victims was as young as 14 years old, Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott E. Schubert said during a press conference Sunday afternoon.
Schubert didn't disclose the identities of the two deceased juveniles.
Authorities said the shooting occurred around midnight at an Airbnb rental property on Suismon Street at Madison Avenue in the city's East Allegheny neighborhood. Because of the number of people there, the scene was chaotic, Schubert repeatedly emphasized.
"The vast majority [at that party] were juveniles" he said. There were also multiple weapons recovered and different shell casings from multiple guns, he said. Police believe there were several shooters involved.
Airbnb told NPR Monday that it is taking legal action against the person who booked the property.
"Airbnb strictly bans parties, and we condemn the behavior that is alleged to have prompted this criminal gun violence and the tragic loss of life ... We confirmed the booking guest has been issued a lifetime ban from Airbnb, and today we can confirm that we plan to pursue affirmative legal action against this individual," the company told NPR.
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey said in a statement that the city is using "all available resources" to find the people responsible for Sunday's shooting.
So far, no one has been arrested in connection with the shooting, but police are calling on attendees of the party to provide photos and videos to help in the investigation.
"It is our top priority to find out who did this and get them off the street," Schubert said.
Investigators were still processing the scene as of Sunday afternoon. The crime scene is "very complex and very chaotic," Schubert said.
Calls to police reported multiple shots fired. There were at least 90 rounds fired that investigators so far know about, Schubert said. But they believe there were far more shots fired based on the scene in and outside of the building.
When emergency crews responded shortly after 12:30 a.m., they were greeted by scores of people running out of the house and some trying to flee in cars. Police said some people suffered broken bones and cuts as they jumped from the house's windows to get to safety.
Schubert applauded police and other emergency personnel for arriving on scene and taking control of the situation.
Shooting comes after recent spate of violence
The shooting in Pittsburgh comes after a violent few weeks in the city. Schubert issued a statement earlier this month, saying he was "profoundly troubled by the recent spate of violent crimes" in Pittsburgh.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sunday's shooting was the fourth in less than 30 hours within city limits. It was also the worst mass shooting in Pittsburgh since the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue massacre.
Gainey said in his statement Sunday that the city has been working for several weeks on a new approach to address gun violence. After this weekend's tragedy, he said he will call a meeting with public safety officials and community leaders to go over a new plan.
"It is critical that we come together now to help reduce the violence currently happening while we begin to do the long-term work of ending the culture of violence that is enabling the senseless loss of life we are experiencing today," he said. "We must say no more and never again."
Airbnb told NPR it reached out to the Pittsburgh Police Department and the mayor's office to assist in the investigation.
The company said in a statement, "We condemn the behavior that is alleged to have prompted this criminal gun violence. The booking guest has been issued a lifetime ban from Airbnb and we will be considering all legal options to hold this person accountable."
Airbnb bans all parties at any rental properties advertised on it and said the party was thrown without the knowledge of the property's host.
The shooting came during a weekend of other high-profile shootings elsewhere in the country: Nine people were shot and five suffered other injuries while attempting to flee a mall in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday; and also in South Carolina, nine people were shot at a restaurant in the town of Furman on Sunday morning.
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