‘It’s disturbing’: Neighbours react after gunfire rings out at wild Airbnb house party in Nepean
Published Monday, October 21, 2019 4:52PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 21, 2019 7:11PM EDT
OTTAWA - Rob and Mandy Hanlon were terrified early Sunday morning when they woke to the sound of gunfire.
“This is a good neighbourhood,” Mandy says from the front step of her Benson Street home. “To have this happen is appalling.”
The couple was alerted to the chaos around 6 a.m. Sunday through their ring.com app on their phone. The home surveillance system uses a doorbell camera to monitor what’s happening outside. The video showed people running and screaming on the couple’s front lawn.
That’s when they heard the gunfire.
“We realized that it was related to the Airbnb next door,” Rob told CTV News. “There had been two people shot.”
Ottawa Police confirm the Guns & Gangs Unit is now investigating the shooting. No victims were found at the scene, but police say there was a house party and people fled. A short time later two men aged 19 and 20 showed up at two different Ottawa hospitals with gunshot wounds.
One was treated and released, the other listed in critical but stable condition. Police believe both men were at the house party.
Investigators executed a search warrant inside the Airbnb home, but no firearms were found and no suspects have been identified.
The Hanlons say the home has been a problem for months, something they’ve told the city.
“The owner is absent, he’s overseas,” says Mandy. “Some nights there are parties.”
“We’ve raised the issue with the city,” says Rob. “They’re studying it, they’re trying to figure out what to do next, they have us taking photos, and calling bylaw because they say they need more evidence.”
Area councillor and vice-chair of the city’s Community and Protective Services Committee, Keith Egli, says he understands homeowners' frustrations,
“Our legal system is a good one, but it’s a process driven one.”
The city has hired consulting firm MacLaren Municipal Consulting, to study the issue and what to do about short-term rentals, like Airbnb and VRBO.
In a report, to be presented at the Community and Protective Services Committee November 15, the firm makes 13 recommendations to crack-down on the rental market, including, paid registration for short-term rental properties, the banning of “commercial operators” like absentee-owners in residential areas, and fines of up to $1000 per day day for those not following the rules.
The public will have an opportunity to have their say at the meeting.
Mandy Hanlon says she just wants to feel safe in her home.
“What about my grandchildren when they’re visiting? What about us?”
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Ottawa Police Guns & Gangs Unit at 613.236.1222 extension 5050.