After a shooting at an Easter weekend house party at an Airbnb in Pittsburgh left two teenagers dead and another eight people with gunshot wounds, Airbnb says it plans to pursue legal action against the person who booked the party.
“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,” spokesperson Ben Breit said in a statement emailed to The Verge. The booking guest has been permanently banned from the platform, he said. The party was “unauthorized,” Breit added, and was held without the knowledge or consent of the property host.
The shooting happened on Easter Sunday just after 12:30AM, according to Pittsburgh police. Some 200 people were at the party in the city’s East Allegheny neighborhood, and police said as many as 50 rounds were fired inside, forcing some people to jump out of windows to escape. Security footage showed Pittsburgh police visited the scene of the party around 11PM in response to a noise complaint but left after warning a person — who said he was the property owner — to turn down the music, Pittsburgh City Paper reported.
In June 2019, Pittsburgh was the site of a fatal shooting at an Airbnb rental in the city’s Hill District neighborhood, where two people were shot and killed.
Airbnb banned “party houses” in November 2019 after five people died in a shooting during a large Halloween party at a rental in California. Its policy prohibits gatherings of more than 16 people and stipulates that any evidence of parties can incur a $500 fee. The policy includes a curfew of 10PM to 7AM and restricts entire home listings made by people under the age of 25. Breit also pointed to the company’s neighborhood support line where neighbors can flag possible parties or party houses to the company.
On Tuesday, Pittsburgh City Council introduced legislation that would require operators of short-term rentals to be licensed by the city’s permits department. Property owners would have to keep records of anyone who entered the property and establish a contact person to be available to authorities in the event of an emergency.
Airbnb said Wednesday it was in close contact with the Pittsburgh police and Mayor Ed Gainey’s office to support the investigation into the shootings. As of this writing, no arrests have been made.
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