Suspect arrested after shot is fired during argument outside Bird Rock short-term rental

A shooting occurred outside this short-term rental on Waverly Avenue in Bird Rock around 7 a.m. Nov. 28, police said.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

A suspect was arrested following a Nov. 28 shooting outside a short-term rental property in Bird Rock, San Diego police said.

An altercation occurred at the house in the 5700 block of Waverly Avenue at about 7 a.m., according to Officer Scott Lockwood.

“Guests were arguing with some of their associates after a birthday party at the location,” Lockwood said. During the argument, a man fired a handgun once and fled, Lockwood said.

“Officers were unable to locate any victims of the shooting,” he said.

A suspect, Deandre Grey, was detained a few blocks away and arrested on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm and other gun-related offenses, as well as narcotics violations, Lockwood said.

The officer said Grey was booked into San Diego County Jail. His status was unclear Dec. 1.

The gun was recovered and a shell casing was found on the sidewalk outside the residence, Lockwood said.

Neighbor Steven Dowdy said his home security footage captured the altercation and that he gave it to police.

“This house has been a problem for the neighborhood for a long time,” Dowdy said. “These guys were partying all night long, screaming and yelling at each other. We had our windows closed and heard muffled sounds, but we heard the gunshot at 7 a.m.”

He accused homeowner Bonnie Fletcher of being an “absentee landlord” who will “rent to anyone.”

Fletcher’s brother Ron said that because the shooting took place “outside the property,” the family did not want to comment.

A representative of short-term rental listing website Airbnb told the La Jolla Light that the listing had been removed from its platform.

“We have no tolerance for the reported behavior and have removed the booking guest from our community. Airbnb bans parties globally and we’ve deactivated the listing while we investigate further,” an Airbnb statement read.

Dowdy, who three times has spoken before the San Diego City Council against short-term vacation rentals, said he hopes the incident brings to light the need for regulation and “how out of control the situation is.”

“There are two children that live across the street, and two on the other side of me,” he said. “Yet we have parties that range from a dozen college co-eds throwing up on the street to people up on the roof deck partying all night. We can call the police, but they have real issues to deal with. [Short-term vacation rentals] have destroyed the fabric of this neighborhood. ... I wouldn’t buy my own house knowing it is next to one of these.”

A draft ordinance presented by City Councilwoman Jennifer Campbell is slated to go before the San Diego Planning Commission during its meeting Thursday, Dec. 3. The ordinance aims to amend the municipal code to include short-term rental occupancy licensing and operating regulations, as well as repeal bed and breakfast and boarder and lodger uses and regulations.

During a Planning Commission presentation in October, city staff said the ordinance proposes to define short-term rental occupancy as a stay of less than a month. The regulations would require a license to operate a short-term rental unit, put limits on the number of licenses a host may obtain, create caps on the total number of whole-house short-term rental units and create a process to track, manage and conduct enforcement on such rentals.

The commission sends a draft ordinance back for more work and declines to forward it to the City Council.

The proposal stems from an agreement that Campbell brokered between two private organizations — Expedia, which owns VRBO and HomeAway, two online platforms for renting STVRs; and Unite Here Local 30, a union that represents hospitality workers.

In October, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott filed a civil enforcement action to shut down a La Jolla Farms short-term vacation rental property where she said parties had resulted in at least 30 calls to San Diego police to investigate “nuisance activities.”

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott filed a civil enforcement action Oct. 23 to shut down a La Jolla Farms short-term vacation rental property where she said parties have resulted in at least 30 calls to San Diego police to investigate “nuisance activities.”

“Most of the incidents involved raucous parties, some of which had up to 300 attendees,” the city attorney’s office said at the time. “About a dozen of the party complaints came during the COVID-19 pandemic while public health orders prohibit large gatherings.”

During one of the parties at the mansion on Black Gold Road, party-goers questioned by police said gunshots were fired during a fight, according to the city attorney’s office. Police found shell casings outside the property, and a neighbor found an additional casing the next day, the office said.

“This is not what people bought houses in residential neighborhoods for,” Dowdy said. “People’s lives are in danger. Is that worth it?” ◆