(PITTSBURGH) — Two juveniles were killed and at least eight people were wounded when a barrage of 50 gunshots broke out early Sunday inside a Pittsburgh Airbnb rental house, where police said roughly 200 people were having a party. Some escaped the gunfire by jumping out of windows.
The shooting marked the third time in nine days that gunfire erupted during parties being held at Airbnb rentals, including one near Sacramento, California, which left a teenager dead, and another that rocked a suburban Houston residential neighborhood.
The Pittsburgh shooting unfolded around 12:30 a.m., when police were notified of multiple ShotSpotter gunfire-detection alerts in the East Allegheny neighborhood on the city’s North Side, the Pittsburgh Police Department said in a statement.
More gunshots were being fired as officers arrived at the scene and saw several young people running away and others fleeing in vehicles, according to the statement.
Victims suffering from bullet wounds were found near the home and taken to hospitals by ambulance, police said. Other gunshot victims were taken to area hospitals in private cars, including two juveniles who were pronounced dead upon arriving at emergency rooms, authorities said.
A total of 10 people were shot, including the two slain juveniles, police said. Several other victims suffered broken bones and cuts fleeing the chaotic scene, according to authorities.
A preliminary investigation found that the shooting occurred during a large party being held at the short-term rental property, “with as many as 200 people in attendance, many of them underage,” according to the police statement.
“As many as 50 rounds were fired inside, prompting some party-goers to jump out the windows, sustaining injuries such as broken bones and lacerations,” according to the police statement. “Several more shots were fired outside the home.”
No arrests have been made, and detectives are combing over evidence found at eight different crime scenes in a radius of several blocks around the Airbnb house. Detectives are also reviewing security video in an effort to identify suspects.
Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert said at a news conference Sunday that the gunfire started after an “altercation” and confirmed that multiple shooters engaged in a gunfight. He said that in addition to the gunshot victims, five other people were injured from either jumping out of windows or falling down stairs while taking cover.
“It is our top priority to find out who did this and get them off the street,” Schubert said.
He said the “vast majority” of people at the party were juveniles.
“This is something that shouldn’t have happened. This goes back to having too many guns — too many illegal guns — on the streets. Too many people who have access to these illegal weapons,” Schubert said. “Innocent people were struck… We’re sick about it, and we’re gonna do everything we can to get those responsible for it.”
Shell casings collected at the scene indicate multiple weapons were fired, including rifles, a police commander told ABC affiliate station WTAE in Pittsburgh.
“We share the Pittsburgh community’s outrage regarding this tragic gun violence. Our hearts go out to all who were impacted — including loved ones of those who lost their lives, injured victims and neighbors,” Airbnb said Sunday in a statement to ABC News. “Airbnb strictly bans parties, and we condemn the behavior that is alleged to have prompted this criminal gun violence.”
Airbnb said the person who booked the house has been issued a lifetime ban from Airbnb. The company confirmed that an “unauthorized party” was thrown without the knowledge or consent of the house host, who specifically stated in the listing page that no parties were allowed and that any evidence of a party would result in a $500 fee.
“We will be considering all legal options to hold this person accountable,” Airbnb’s statement said, adding that the company is cooperating with the Pittsburgh Police Department’s investigation.
Addressing allegations that many of those attending the party were minors, the company said, “we can confirm that users must be 18 or above to create an Airbnb account.”
The company also noted that its CEO, Brian Chesky, has joined a coalition of CEOs nationwide calling for stricter gun control measures to get illegal firearms off the streets.
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey said in a statement on Sunday that police were using all available resources to find those responsible for the shooting and added that members of the community had contacted the investigators with information on the episode.
Gainey said the shooting came as Pittsburgh police and city leaders have been been working on a plan in the past several weeks to address gun violence in the city. He said a special meeting of public safety and key community members is being scheduled to discuss a citywide effort to combat gun violence.
“The time is now for us to move with a sense of urgency to bring justice to the victims and peace to our city,” Gainey said in his statement. “It is critical that we come together now to help reduce the violence currently happening while we begin to do the long-term work of ending the culture of violence that is enabling the senseless loss of life we are experiencing today. We must say no more and never again.”
Anyone with information about the shooting can call the Pittsburgh Police Department’s Major Crimes unit at (412) 323-7161.
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