Gunshots, home ‘destroyed’ at 2 short-term rentals since Thursday


Highlights

Gunshots were reported at a North Austin short-term rental Saturday, but no one was struck, police said.

Last week, local author and chef Georgia Pellegrini said her home was ‘destroyed’ by short-term renters.

Austin police are investigating an early Saturday incident at a short-term rental property in which they say multiple gunshots were fired and several people were injured while trying to flee.

The incident came a few days after a well-known local author and chef reported that her East Austin home was “destroyed” by short-term renters.

Austin police Lt. Ken Hobbs said officers responded to multiple reports of shots fired about 2:45 a.m. Saturday at a short-term rental property in the 100 block of East Odell Street just west of Interstate 35.

Officers found multiple people injured while attempting to flee, though no gunshot wounds were reported. Other injured people went to the hospital themselves, Hobbs said.

The nature and extent of their injuries weren’t immediately known.

Hobbs said no one has been detained, but police received a brief description of the shooting suspect. The investigation is ongoing, police said.

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On Friday, author Georgia Pellegrini said on social media that an Airbnb renter “destroyed my home” in the 1700 block of Giles Street the day before.

“They had weapons and drugs and shots were fired as police arrived,” she wrote on Twitter. “25 casings found.”

She added: “There were drugs. Everything I own is ruined.”

Pellegrini, an adventurer with a large social media following who has been featured in several publications including the Wall Street Journal and the American-Statesman, has since deleted the tweets about the incident. She could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Last week, Instagram user Kreamsd announced he was co-hosting a “SXSW loft party” Thursday night at Pellegrini’s address. The post said the event had a $10 charge but was free for women and invited people to bring their own drinks. Kreamsd did not respond Sunday to requests for comment.

Neighbors on Giles Street said they heard gunshots early Friday and saw droves of revelers running away from the noise. Mark Szmania, a Houston resident staying with relatives on Giles Street, said the people were still loitering on the street around 3 a.m. “finishing drinks.”

Hobbs said the incidents at Odell and Giles streets do not appear to be related. He did not provide any additional details on the Giles Street incident Sunday.

ALSO READ: A neighborhood battle emerges amid Austin’s short-term rental rules

Last year, the city of Austin voted to phase out some types of short-term rentals after more than a year of debate largely between homeowners irritated about loud parties in their neighborhoods and renters who argued that most short-term rentals were operated responsibly. Short-term rentals within the city must be licensed and can house a maximum of 10 people at a time.

Some homeowners have argued that problems persist and that code enforcement officers generally aren’t present when disturbances take place.

Bills have been filed with the state Legislature that would limit the power of cities to regulate short-term rentals, bringing city officials before legislative committees to testify last week.



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