Man Accused Of Rehearsing Shooting At SD Hotel Arraigned On Gun Charges
Monday, December 9, 2019
Credit: Steven Anderson via YouTube
UPDATE: 4:45 p.m., Dec. 9, 2019:
A Spring Valley man who allegedly posted YouTube videos showing him loading and aiming guns out a window at people walking by his downtown San Diego hotel room was charged Monday with three felony counts each of possession of an assault weapon and child endangerment and ordered held on $1 million bail.
Steve Homoki, 30, was arrested Thursday in connection with an alleged "fantasy rehearsal of a simulated mass shooting" at the Sofia Hotel, according to prosecutors, who said he faces 10 years and eight months in state prison if convicted as charged.
In a pair of YouTube videos he's accused of posting on Sept. 17 and 18 — apparently filmed with a body camera — guns, high-capacity magazines and hundreds of bullets can be seen strewn around a guest room at the hotel.
According to prosecutors, the videos feature footage of Homoki pointing assault rifles at pedestrians from his room overlooking West Broadway. In one video, he allegedly takes aim at a person walking outside, pulls the trigger — to no effect — and says, "One down, more to go."
Prosecutors believe Homoki filmed the footage sometime in March and checked into the hotel under a false name.
Homoki's arrest stemmed from a tip to the San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force on Dec. 2, SDPD Lt. Shawn Takeuchi said. Court documents state the person who provided the tip reported noticing Homoki "slowly become less stable over the period of almost an entire year" and alleged he "is planning something or already has a plan."
Despite the tip and videos alerting law enforcement, Homoki was not charged for any of his alleged conduct within the hotel room. Deputy District Attorney Wendy Patrick said none of the actions in the videos are necessarily illegal, but spoke to the danger Homoki allegedly posed.
The prosecutor also said police had grounds to serve a search warrant at Homoki's home because some of the guns in the videos resembled illegal firearms.
At his home, Patrick said police found 14 firearms, including three assault weapons that are prohibited to own in California. Patrick alleged the guns were lying around the house, many of which were loaded and easily accessible to Homoki's three children.
San Diego police served a gun violence restraining order against Homoki on Friday, ordering him to surrender all firearms in his possession and prohibiting him from owning or purchasing any more firearms.
In a jailhouse interview with CBS 8, Homoki did not offer a clear explanation of what the video was intended to achieve. He repeated several times that he did not intend to harm anyone and was merely expressing his First Amendment rights by making the video, which he said was never meant to be seen by the general public and has been taken "all out of proportion."
Homoki was initially booked into county jail on $20,000 bail, but San Diego County Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Brannigan set bail at $1 million at the prosecution's request.
He's due back in court Dec. 18 for a status conference.
Homoki was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail pending arraignment.
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