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Neighbor recounts deadly shooting at Pittsburgh Airbnb house

iStock/MattGush

(NEW YORK) -- In the aftermath of a mass shooting at an Airbnb rental house that left two 17-year-old boys dead and eight people wounded, neighbor Leonard Verdetto described what he said was "rapid fire" followed by panicked party-goers flooding out of the residence.

The episode erupted early Sunday morning across the street from Verdetto's Pittsburgh home and was one of three mass shootings in the United States over the Easter weekend, including two in South Carolina at a mall and a restaurant.

The Gun Violence Archive, a website that tracks shootings across the nation, has tallied 139 mass shootings in the country in the first 107 days of 2022.

"When we heard the bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, we looked out the window and people were running out the door and screaming, yelling, crying," Verdetto told ABC affiliated station WTAE in Pittsburgh of the shooting that broke at the Airbnb house being used for a party in his East Allegheny neighborhood on the city's North Side.

When Verdetto's wife went to look out a window to see what the commotion was, he said he yelled, "Get away from the window!"

"I could see the flashing of the shots coming out the windows because we look across at the windows," Verdetto said. "I said, 'Holy mackerel, that's really rapid fire.' I said, 'Man, with all that shooting there's got to be a lot of dead people over there. It was lucky it was only two."

More than 90 shots were fired, including 50 inside the home, where the Pittsburgh Police Department said more than 200 people were attending a party. 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.

Besides the 10 people shot, including the two slain teenagers, another five party-goers suffered broken bones and cuts attempting to escape the gunfire, some by jumping from windows, Schubert said.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office identified the deceased as Mathew Steffy-Ross and Jaiden Brown, both 17. No arrests have been made and investigators were working Monday to identify suspects.

"They all come tearing out and they were falling over, crying. There were a lot of young girls," Verdetto said. He added that prior to the shooting, he noticed mostly young people lined up outside the house.

"There was a long line getting into the building. I said, 'Wow, where are all them people going?'" Verdetto said. "And then I'd come back again and come back again and the line was still going and going. I said, 'I don't know how they get all them people in there.' And I mean, it was a lot of people in there."

The owner of the Airbnb rental has not been identified.

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 teen dead, and another that rocked a suburban Houston residential neighborhood.

Airbnb said a statement to ABC News that the person who booked the Pittsburgh 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.

Airbnb said on Monday it is taking legal action against the person who booked the Pittsburgh rental.

"Airbnb strictly bans parties, and we condemn the behavior that is alleged to have prompted this criminal gun violence and the tragic loss of life. Yesterday we confirmed the booking guest has been issued a lifetime ban from Airbnb, and today we can confirm that we plan to pursue affirmative legal action against this individual," Airbnb said in a new statement on Monday, adding that the company is cooperating with the Pittsburgh Police Department's investigation.

Following the shooting, Verdetto said his grandson pointed out numerous vehicles in the neighborhood with shattered windows, and walls of nearby homes and businesses pockmarked with bullet holes.

"I'm just glad I'm here," Verdetto said.

ABC News' Victoria Arancio contributed to this report.

 

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