A suspect has been arrested in connection with the August 7 house party shooting at a rental house in Sunnyvale, where a raucous teen party attracted police attention even before the shooting occurred.
The Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety announced the arrest Thursday of 18-year-old Sean Andrew James Jr., a resident of Sunnyvale. James was reportedly 17 at the time of the shooting, and he has booked on one count of murder and one count of attempted murder at Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall.
A press release from the Sunnyvale DPS indicated that upon the arrest of James at a home on Aster Avenue in Sunnyvale, "several handguns and ammunition were recovered."
The illegal party on August 7, advertised on social media, drew an estimated 150-200 teen attendees, and was reportedly thrown by high school students from San Jose. It occurred at an Airbnb rental with an out-of-state owner, on Navarro Drive in Sunnyvale.
The shooting occurred not long after police arrived at 10:20 p.m. Officers were awaiting backup nearby and attempting to find the owner of the home, after receiving noise complaints from neighbors — who saw crowds of intoxicated teens gathering at the home. Police heard shots fired, and immediately entered the scene to find one wounded victim, and 18-year-old Elias Elhania of San Jose dead.
Shootings at house parties thrown in short-term rentals and advertised over social media are becoming all too commonplace. A similar incident that ended in the deaths of five people occurred at a Halloween party in Orinda in 2019, which had been dubbed a "mansion party" in social media posts.
Another house-party shooting happened in Sacramento County in August 2020, after which Airbnb took legal action against the guest who booked the home.
Airbnb took similar legal action in the Sunnyvale case, two weeks after this shooting occurred.
The case also brought up issues with the owner of the house, whom neighbors say was renting out the home on Airbnb over a period of years while living out of state. The home was not registered with Sunnyvale's short-term rental registry.
The owner had said in the listing for the home that parties were not allowed.