Airbnb Crackdown On 'Unauthorised' Events After Deadly Halloween Party
Airbnb's chief executive says the company is taking actions against unauthorised parties following a deadly shooting at a Halloween party held at an Airbnb rental home in California.
In a series of tweets, Brian Chesky said on Saturday the company is expanding manual screening of "high risk" reservations and will remove guests who fail to comply with policies banning parties at Airbnb rental homes.
He also said the company is forming a "rapid response team" when complaints of unauthorised parties come in.
"We must do better, and we will. This is unacceptable," he tweeted.
Five people died after a Thursday night shooting that sent 100 terrified partygoers running for their lives in the San Francisco suburb of Orinda.
The four-bedroom home had been rented on Airbnb by a woman who told the owner her dozen family members had asthma and needed to escape smoke from a wildfire, the person with knowledge of the transaction told The Associated Press.
The owner was suspicious of a one-night rental on Halloween and before agreeing reminded the renter that no parties were allowed, said the source.
The owner, Michael Wang, said his wife reached out to the renter on Thursday night after neighbours contacted them about the party. The renter said there were only a dozen people at the home but Wang said he could see more people on video from his doorbell camera.
"We called the police. They were on the way to go there to stop them but before we got there the neighbour already sent us a message saying there was a shooting," he told the Chronicle.
Three people, all from the Bay Area, died at the scene and a fourth died at the hospital, authorities initially said. Later it was disclosed a fifth had died in hospital.
Other people were wounded by gunshots or injured in the panic that followed, authorities said.
The party at the four-bedroom house apparently was advertised on social media as an "Airbnb mansion party".
Airbnb is "urgently investigating" what happened, spokesman Ben Breit said in an email.
Airbnb has banned the renter from its platform and the home has been removed as a listing, he said.
One attendee said he was enjoying the music and watching people dance when he heard shots and people started running.
The screaming seemed to last forever, said Devan, who asked that his last name not be used because he feared for his safety.
"Everybody started running, scrambling," he said. "People were just collapsing and friends were helping friends. It was a scary situation and then as everyone is panicking and stuff, there were more shots."
Devan shot a video posted to Instagram that showed a wounded man on the ground and a police officer standing over him and a woman saying she needs to go to the hospital "because my hand's been blown off".