ORINDA, Calif. - There is a possible motive in the Orinda Halloween-party shooting that left four men and a woman dead.
According to sources, there was a recent fight between two groups, one from San Francisco and the other from Marin City. People from both groups were among the 100 people who showed up at the Airbnb rental-home gathering.
Sources say many people in the crowd pulled out guns in the kitchen area and opened fire.
“There’s music playing and all you hear is gunshots going off,” said Brandon Duckworth, one of the partygoers.
Duckworth said he escaped out the front door after hearing 20 gunshots.
“You go from having fun and smiling, talking to a girl to survivor mode. You like, ‘Whoa’, like you gotta watch your surroundings,” he said.
Sources say one of the victims was caught in the crossfire, and was shot when two shooters were aiming for each other.
Neither Orinda nor San Francisco police are commenting about the investigation.
“It’d be nice if they could say more, but they’ve got literally a hundred people they’re trying to track down, right?” said Orinda City Manager Steve Salomon. “It just happened last Thursday. I believe they’re making progress.”
Salomon said he's asked Orinda's police chief to report to the council on the criminal investigation of the shooting.
Police have not made any arrests, but they are looking into the background of both those who attended the party and the victims who died.
San Francisco police said one of the deceased, Raymond Hill Junior, was a known gang member.
A memorial near Theater Square honors Tiyon Farley, 22, of Antioch; Omar Taylor, 24, of Pittsburg; Ramon Hill Jr., 23, of San Francisco and Oakland; Javin County, 29, of Sausalito and Richmond; and Oshiana Tompkins, 19, of Vallejo and Hercules.
Meanwhile, ahead of Tuesday night's Orinda City Council meeting to revisit the city’s short-term rental ordinance, the council will hold a moment of silence for the five young people killed at the rented mansion.
Before the council meets, a 6 p.m. vigil is planned at an already growing memorial near Theater Square to remember: Tiyon Farley, 22, of Antioch; Omar Taylor, 24, of Pittsburg; Ramon Hill Jr., 23, of San Francisco and Oakland; Javin County, 29, of Sausalito and Richmond; and Oshiana Tompkins, 19, of Vallejo and Hercules.
People continue to leave flowers, candles and personal messages of support for their families.
The victims were among the roughly 100 people attending what was billed as a “Halloween Mansion Party” at an Airbnb rental on Lucille Way, when someone started shooting.
The tragedy sparked a debate in the affluent community of Orinda about the rules on short-term housing rentals and the council is expected to discuss a range of proposals to tighten regulations.
Orinda's rules for operating short-term rental properties are fairly typical. Since October 2017, Orinda has required owners of
short-term rental properties to register with the city. Those owners are required to pay 8.5 percent of that rental income to the city every quarter.
The maximum occupancy of any space used for short-term rental is two people per bedroom plus three other people. In the Orinda case, the renter told the homeowner that 12 people would be staying, as they needed to escape the smoke from the Kincade Fire, sources said.
That was not the case.
Some cities and towns, including Danville, ban short-term rentals entirely. Others, such as Sunnyvale, allow such rentals only if the property
owners remain on-site.
Salomon said an outright ban on all short-term rentals is an option for the council to consider.
Ahead of the Orinda City Council meeting to revisit the city’s short-term rental ordinance, the council will hold a moment of silence for the five young people killed at a Halloween party, hosted in a rented Airbnb mansion.
Still, Salomon wondered how the city would enforce it, and would that open up Orinda to litigation. “It’s like most things,” he said. “It’s not as simple as you’d like when you first ponder it."
On Saturday, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said his firm is enacting new measures to ban "party houses" from that platform, including expanding manual
screening of high-risk reservations flagged by its risk-detection technology; creating a dedicated "party house" rapid response team, and taking immediate action against users who violate Airbnb polices against having too many people in a given rental property.
Aside from city leaders, community members also have questions about the police response – the night of the shooting.
Raymon Hill Sr. said he wonders why police didn't arrive immediately when neighbors called to complain about the noise. "If police came when they were called, the party would have been shut down," he said. His son, Raymon Hill Jr., is the third son that he has lost to gun violence.
The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department said that on Halloween about 8:30 p.m., Orinda police were helping Lafayette police with a home invasion robbery that led officers to Oakland.
It’s not clear what - if any - impact that other call may have had on the Orinda department's response time.
Neighbors called to complain about the Halloween party noise twice, the night of the shooting.