The manhunt for the killer or killers who opened fire on a Halloween party at a California Airbnb rolled into a fifth day Monday after the death toll rose, survivors shared tales of horror and the short-term rental industry faced a series of rule changes.
The violence erupted Thursday night at a party that police in Orinda said had drawn more than 100 people to a short-term rental house that banned parties and had a maximum occupancy permit of 13 people. Three people died at the scene; a fourth was rushed to a hospital and pronounced dead.
Orinda Police Chief David Cook downplayed any ongoing threat to the public, saying there was no indication the attackers were from Orinda or stayed in the area.
Two days later, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office announced a fifth death –Oshiana Tompkins, 19, of Vallejo. Since then, authorities have been tight-lipped on the pursuit of the those involved.
“No updates at this time,” the sheriff’s office said over the weekend. “If we have anything to announce, we will send out a press release and post on social media.”
The Orinda City Council meeting Tuesday will open with a moment of silence for the victims. Then leaders and residents will discuss the future of Airbnbs in the San Francisco suburb of 18,000. Council Dennis Fay is proposing a temporary ban on short-term rentals.
“This whole thing of being able to rent a house and then turn it into a party house is ridiculous,” Fay told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The four-bedroom home had been rented on Airbnb by a woman who told the owner family members had asthma and needed to escape smoke from a wildfire burning in nearby wine country, a person with knowledge of the transaction told The Associated Press. But police drew multiple calls complaining about the party before the shooting started.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky promised to slam the door on unauthorized parties and to step up efforts to “get rid of abusive host and guest conduct.” He also promised to quickly follow up on complaints of unauthorized parties at Airbnb rentals.
“We must do better, and we will,” he tweeted two days after the tragedy. “This is unacceptable.”
Orinda Mayor Inga Miller has ordered flags flown at half-staff.
“This is a tragedy of unimaginable gravity,” she said.
Those killed included Tiyon Farley, 22; Omar Taylor, 24; Ramon Hill Jr., 23; and Javin County, 29. Taylor’s brother, Omari, said Omar was the party’s DJ. Omari Taylor said music was his brother’s “happiness,” and that Omar used DJ jobs to help support his young daughter.
“He was a good man,” Taylor told KGO-TV. “If he was here right now, he’d want everyone to stay strong.”
The Taylors’ stepmother, Laneisha Epps, told the TV station the shooting was a senseless act that was overwhelming the family with grief.
“That’s the tragic part, everyone for Halloween was getting dressed up having fun, thinking they were coming home,” Epps said. “To get that call was devastating.”