Police were already present at a home in Sunnyvale Saturday night where a large underage party was going on when shots were fired and two partygoers were hit.
One man died and the other person was wounded and is expected to survive, as Bay City News reports. Both victims are adults but their names have not been released.
Police reportedly arrived at the party on the 1400 block of Navarro Drive in Sunnyvale around 10:20 p.m. on Saturday and were waiting for backup and to try to identify the home's owner. They said they witnessed a party underway with about 150 to 200 people, and then intervened after hearing shots fired, offering aid to the victims.
No arrests have been made.
As ABC 7 reports, the house was an Airbnb rental, much like the home in Orinda where a Halloween weekend party turned deadly in 2019. And much like that other party, this one was advertised on social media.
In the Orinda shooting, which still has not been solved, five people were killed. Several suspects were arrested but the trail ultimately went cold, and police said in early 2020 that party guests had stopped cooperating as witnesses.
Airbnb subsequently took steps to ban party house rentals, and to restrict one-night rentals in general when guests lack adequate reviews on the site. Airbnb issued a statement saying that they continue to ban the use of rentals on the platform for parties, and they "condemn the senseless gun violence that took place in Sunnyvale." Further, they said that the host in this case banned parties in her rental listing.
Neighbors tell ABC 7 that the party appeared to be primarily filled with teenagers aged 16 to 19 — and some even arrived and saw the house so crowded that they never went in.
"We saw a bunch of kids walking that looked definitely like minors and holding alcohol in various states of consciousness," said neighbor Henry Alexander III, speaking to ABC 7. Regarding the shooting, he added, "It's nothing you would ever imagine in this sleepy little neighborhood, it was totally unnecessary and didn't have to happen."
Sunnyvale city leaders will now, like Orinda, seek to change the law around short-term rentals to prevent future parties like this.
"I want to know what is legally possible for us to restrict and require from a safety perspective of Airbnb," said Sunnyvale City Councilmember Mason Fong, speaking to ABC 7.
Airbnb announced in August 2020 that it was instituting a global ban on parties at its rentals, with an occupancy cap of 16 at any rental. Guests and hosts who violate the rules are punished by being removed from the platform.
"Reducing the number of unauthorized house parties on Airbnb has long been a priority," the company says in its official policy. "We're taking actions to support safe and responsible travel. This means that certain bookings that exhibit high-party risk characteristics may be restricted."
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety Detective Corrine Abernathy at (408) 730-7134.
Update: The Mercury News reports that the hosts of the party were high school students from San Jose, and they got an image of the flier that was circulating on Instagram. Also, the host apparently never registered this short-term rental with the city, as required by law, and neighbors say it has regularly been rented out via Airbnb over the past several years, with an absentee owner who lives in Maryland.
Update 2: The 18-year-old victim who died has been identified as Elias Elhania.
Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images