Thursday, December 12, 2019

San Diego Weirdness (Ad Infinitum)

From Teri Figueroa's 12-9-19 SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE article entitled "San Diego Man Accused of Simulating Mass Shooting Faces Weapons Charges; Bail Set at $1M":

A Spring Valley man who authorities say recorded himself practicing carrying out a mass shooting from a downtown San Diego hotel room was charged with several felonies Monday, including illegal weapons possession.

The charges against Steve Homoki do not specifically arise from two short video recordings, made in March and uploaded online in September. The two YouTube videos show a man, who authorities said is Homoki, racing around inside a corner suite of the Sofia Hotel, pointing weapons at passersby three floors down, on Broadway near Front Street.

Rather, authorities charged the 30-year-old in San Diego Superior Court with illegally possessing three guns. He was also charged with three felony counts of endangering his three children after authorities said a search of his home turned up several loaded guns they say were accessible to minors.

Although the videos and the simulated shooting are not part of the charges, Deputy District Attorney Wendy Patrick described them at length for Superior Court Judge Joseph Brannigan.

Patrick said not only did Homoki allegedly have illegally altered weapons, and had loaded guns accessible to the children, but also acted out a mass attack.

“The simulated mass shooting makes the defendant a triple threat,” Patrick said.

According to Patrick, 14 legally purchased guns were found at Homoki’s home. Three of them, she said, had been modified to make them illegal assault weapons, thus the three weapons charges Homoki faces.

Branningan said the allegations indicate Homoki was “an obvious danger to the community” and granted Patrick’s request to set bail at $1 million.

After the hearing, Patrick told reporters that authorities “worry about copycats.”

She noted that the defendant allegedly rented the room and hauled with him guns and recording equipment.

“What he was doing in the hotel is what makes him dangerous,” she said.

The video, given that it simulates shooting passersby from a hotel room, conjures shades of the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, in which a gunman in a hotel room opened fire on an outdoor concert venue, killing 58 and wounding hundreds.

To read Figueroa's entire article, click HERE.

On 12-9-19, Alex Riggins of the LOS ANGELES TIMES covered this story as well. The L.A. TIMES article, entitled "Man Jailed on Gun Charges Linked to Videos of Apparent San Diego Mass Shooting Practice," begins as follows:

Authorities arrested a 30-year-old man Thursday after receiving a tip about Youtube videos he allegedly posted in which he appears to practice carrying out a mass shooting from a downtown San Diego hotel room.
Steve Homoki remained jailed Friday on $20,000 bail after being booked on suspicion of felony and misdemeanor counts of possessing assault weapons, possessing high-capacity magazines and child endangerment.
Homoki is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, when formal charges would be announced. The arraignment would likely be postponed if he were to post bail.
It was not clear Friday evening if Homoki had an attorney.
Authorities identified Homoki during an investigation that began Dec. 2 when the San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force received a tip “concerning very distressing Youtube videos threatening firearm violence linked to San Diego,” Lt. Shawn Takeuchi of the San Diego Police Department said in a statement.
Following a two-day investigation, agents and officers with the Joint Terrorism Task Force served a search warrant at Homoki’s residence in the San Diego suburb of Spring Valley, seizing “several firearms” and arresting Homoki “without incident,” Takeuchi said.
“Just three days ago Mr. Homoki was an unknown poster of disturbing videos and is now behind bars, his threats neutralized,” Scott Brunner, special agent in charge of San Diego’s FBI field office, said in a statement. “This investigation is a truly extraordinary accomplishment.”
In a pair of Youtube videos posted Sept. 17 and 18, and which appear to be shot from a body camera, a man can be seen inside a hotel room pointing multiple weapons toward the windows of the room, which appears to be at least a few floors above ground level. Pedestrians can be seen walking below and across the street, unaware of the guns being pointed at them from behind the windows.
According to NBC7, which obtained court documents from the case Friday afternoon, the videos were likely recorded in March, when Homoki allegedly checked into The Sofia Hotel under the false name Stephen Anderson — a name similar to the one he used to post the videos on Youtube.
The Sofia Hotel is near the Edward J. Schwartz federal courthouse.
To read Riggins' entire article, click HERE.

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