Shootout follows party at AirBNB in Merion Village

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCHM) — A shootout broke out at an AirBNB in Merion Village this past weekend, leaving at least one neighbor hoping the residence finds a permanent occupant.

Neighbors said online that they believe it was the first time the home was rented out using the popular AirBNB service.

Neighbors said they called the police several times late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, believing a party was happening and was getting out of control. They said nothing was done until shots were fired.

“It got worse,” Merion Village resident Kim Gaal said. “It just started getting crazy.”

Neighbors said it started as a party and ended in a shootout.

“I went to bed, missed part of it, until gunshots went off,” said Gaal.

Gaal lives across the street from the AirBNB where the shooting took place.

She said she didn’t stay up to monitor the party, but knows several neighbors, including her niece, called 9-1-1 to complain about the noise.

Gaal said nothing happened and the next thing she knew, gunshots woke her up at 4 a.m.

“WTH, like are you kidding me, really, this is off the hook,” she said.

Columbus police said one man was shot. He was taken to Grant Medical Center and is in stable condition.

There are several bullet holes in the house and even some trash left in the yard from Saturday’s party.

Gaal said she’s never wanted an AirBNB this close to where she lives.

When asked what she thought when she first heard about the AirBNB opening across the street from her home, she said, “A hot mess. It’s going to be in our beautiful neighborhood.”

No one opened the door to the home when a reporter knocked.

Gaal said she hopes the owner reconsiders his AirBNB.

“I’m praying that he rents it to a family, you know,” she said. “We don’t want an AirBNB, we don’t.”

Calls to the owner of the home have not been returned.

A spokesperson for AirBNB released a statement Tuesday. It reads:

“The reported behavior is appalling and violates everything our Columbus community represents. We’ve removed this listing as well as the booking guest from our platform as we investigate, and we stand ready to support Columbus PD. Our thoughts are with the victim and the Merion Village neighbors.”

According to AirBNB, the following procedures are currently in place to ensure the safety of both renters and tenants:

  • Background Checks and Watch Lists: While no background check system is infallible, we screen all hosts and guests globally against regulatory, terrorist, and sanctions watch lists. For United States residents, we also run background checks looking for prior felony convictions, sex offender registrations, and significant misdemeanors. We are working with additional governments around the world to identify where we can do more background checks.
  • 24/7 Global Response & Assistance: In the rare event that any issue should arise, Airbnb’s global Customer Service and Trust and Safety teams are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in 11 different languages to help make things right with rebooking assistance, as well as refunds, reimbursements, and support programs like our Host Guarantee and Host Protection Insurance. If, for instance, you arrive at a listing and it’s not as advertised, all you need to do is reach out to our team and we are here to help.
  • Host Guarantee: Hosts are protected by our Million Dollar Host Guarantee, which covers listings for up to $1,000,000 USD in damage — and it’s free for all hosts and every single booking.
  • Insurance: Our Host Protection Insurance provides home sharing hosts with additional protection against third party claims of property damage or bodily injury up to $1,000,000 USD.
  • Neighbor Tool: We want to do everything we can to help our community members be good neighbors in the places they call home, which is why we launched our Neighbor Tool. Anyone can go to airbnb.com/neighbors to share specific concerns they might have about a listing in their community. Hosting is a big responsibility and those who fail to meet our standards and expectations will be subject to suspension or removal.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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