The FBI is assisting in the investigation into a shooting that killed four people and wounded at least four more on Thursday night at a large Halloween party at an Orinda mansion rented on Airbnb, where police are still trying to piece together what happened.
Orinda police provided few details about the shooting at a news conference on Friday afternoon and are still trying to determine how many victims were injured, how they were injured, why the shooting happened and how many shooters there were.
The home had been the subject of repeated complaints to the city for large parties and other code violations. City officials had requested in February that police break up any large parties at the residence, which violated city regulations.
Complaints were also lodged on Thursday night, when neighbors sent an email at 9:35 p.m., according to Orinda city manager Steve Solomon.
Solomon said neighbors also called police about the party. Police declined to say why officers did not respond.
The shooting was reported at 10:50 p.m. Officers arrived to find a chaotic scene with more than 100 people fleeing the nearly 4,000-square-foot home at 114 Lucille Way, a small street on a wooded hill where roads are narrow and winding.
Police found multiple gunshot victims inside. Three were already dead when officers arrived and five more were taken to a hospital, where one later died.
Others may have been injured as well and taken themselves to a hospital, Orinda police Chief David Cook said. He said investigators were still trying to determine if there were any other victims.
While investigators have not made any arrests and have not been able to determine who the shooter or shooters were, or why gunfire broke out at the party, Cook said he did not believe there was any ongoing threat to the neighborhood as the house had been rented by people outside of Orinda.
“This is a party that had over 100 people in it. … All of those people are potential witnesses.”
He said investigators have located and are in the process of interviewing some of the people from the party but the investigation is complex and ongoing.
“Orinda is a very small, very safe, very family-oriented community that is not accustomed to violence.”
Orinda Mayor Inga Miller said the City Council would likely re-visit the issue of short-term rentals at its next meeting on Tuesday.
The city had already passed restrictions on the number of occupants allowed at short-term rentals like Airbnb, capping it at 13 people.
Code enforcement officials had received numerous complaints about the property since it was registered as a short-term rental last November, including a complaint in February about large parties. The city sent the property owners, identified in property records as Wenlin Luo and Michael Young Wang, reminders about city regulations in March.
Another complaint was filed in July complaining about overflowing garbage bins.
Airbnb released a statement on Friday saying that the home has been removed from listings during the investigation and that the guest who rented it would be banned from the platform. The company said that the listing specifically forbid parties.
The company said:
“We are horrified by this tragedy and are in close communication with Chief David Cook of Orinda Police to offer our support with his investigation into who committed this senseless violence. … Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the victims of this abhorrent act as well as the neighbors of the home.”
Solomon, the city manager, said that the problems at the address don’t necessarily stem from the short-term rental model so much as how to effectively enforce the city’s existing rules:
“The challenge and the underlying problem here is they weren’t being followed. … I don’t know if it’s the model itself, I think it’s the particular property and their willingness to follow the rules.”