Airbnb unauthorized rentals result in teen shooting and prostitution bust

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HOUSTON—The Houston Police Department is investigating after a man was shot during a house party Tuesday.

According to police, over 50 teens and young adults gathered at an Airbnb on Edgemoor near Alder when someone drove up and fired 13 rounds into the crowd.

A 17-year-old  was struck in the back and transported to the hospital. His condition is unknown at this time.

Airbnb has seen a recent increase of rentals promoting unauthorized parties.

Laura Rillos, a spokeswoman for Airbnb, issued this statement regarding the Houston incident:

Our thoughts are with the victim of this senseless violence, and we have offered to fully assist the Houston Police Department in their investigation. We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior, and this guest has been removed from the platform.

There have been over 200 million guest arrivals in Airbnb listings to date and negative incidents are extremely rare. In the unlikely event that an issue should arise, our global Trust and Safety team is standing by 24/7 to support our community. We are currently supporting this host under our $1 Million Host Guarantee.

A similar incident took place in Memphis on Monday when a couple learned that the Cooper-Young home they had rented out on Airbnb was the center of an alleged prostitution ring.

Police made five arrests at the home after neighbors counted at least 31 men going in and out of the property since Friday.

A neighbor, who only wanted to be identified as Jeff, said he was hosting a Game of Thrones premiere party Sunday when he noticed the strange comings and goings.

“For the first few guys I thought, ‘I’m not really seeing what I’m seeing here,’ but after a while, it became pretty clear,” he said.

Police said a man named Travis Young rented the property from the owners, who neighbors said are on vacation.

He then allegedly pimped out two women: Thalia Hecht and Shanice Johnson. Hecht allegedly charged $80 for a half-hour and $120 for a full hour.

NewsFix Sister Station WREG found ads on a number of sites featuring Hecht in provocative poses, promising “pure satisfaction” and a “relaxed time with your new favorite (cat emoji).”

She listed Cooper-Young as her location and even lists the same phone number Young used to rent the property.

A representative for Airbnb told WREG both renters and guests have to undergo background checks in order to use the site.

Police said they found more than $4,000 cash as well as drugs, guns and three children in the house.

All three children are in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Airbnb sent us the following statement regarding the Memphis incident:

“Airbnb has zero tolerance for this type of behavior and we are outraged over what has reportedly taken place. We immediately removed this user from our community and we are fully supporting our host. Airbnb runs background checks on all US residents using the platform and we are urgently investigating this in coordination with local law enforcement.”

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