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Airbnb guest accused of shooting host makes first court appearance

Caveion Lett had been staying at the unit for several months prior to the shooting, which critically injured the Airbnb host.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The man accused of shooting a woman Wednesday night during an extended stay at an Airbnb in Northeast Portland made his first appearance in court on Friday.

Caveion Lett, 21, is charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault with a firearm, and unlawful use of a weapon.

According to a probable cause statement filed by the Multnomah County District Attorney's office, Lett had been staying at the Airbnb unit on Northeast Grand near Northeast Going for several months prior to the shooting. The homeowner and Airbnb host, identified by the name Kimberly, was reportedly renting out three basement rooms in all.

Kimberly's boyfriend, identified in the affidavit as Sergey, told police that they'd had been having problems with Lett and had been trying to get him to leave. The renter had also become increasingly paranoid over the last week, Sergey told detectives, and his unusual behavior had been escalating.

"Sergey further explained that Mr. Lett had made some vague threats about having a gun, and that he texted a photo of the gun to Kimberly," the D.A.'s office affidavit reads.

Sergey said that he'd put a camera in the common area of the basement to keep tabs on the situation, and they came to believe that Lett had "moved the camera," the affidavit says.

During Lett's arraignment on Friday, Sergey spoke to the court remotely, saying that he believed Lett had stolen the camera.

On the night of the shooting, Sergey said that he came home from work to find that Kimberly planned to serve an eviction notice to Lett. They both went down to Lett's room and knocked on his door "and were asking him about the camera through the door" when the shooting started, the affidavit says. Lett didn't say a word before opening fire, according to Sergey.

Credit: KGW News
A 21-year-old man is accused of shooting an Airbnb host through a door in the King neighborhood of Northeast Portland on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

Multiple rounds came through the door, Sergey said. Detectives later corroborated that there were five or six bullet holes in the door. Sergey told police that he turned to see Kimberly on the ground, bleeding. He grabbed her and managed to get her up the stairs and outside.

Police responded a little after 8:30 p.m., finding Kimberly suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest. Paramedics worked to stabilize her at the scene, and she was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Though critically injured, Portland police said she is expected to survive.

After a lengthy standoff and negotiation, police said that Lett — still inside the basement when officers arrived — agreed to surrender. He was taken into custody.

Portland police reported finding two loaded magazines in Lett's pants pockets, and a 9mm handgun with an extended magazine on top of a microwave in the basement common area.

Credit: Portland Police Bureau
Police recovered a 9mm handgun with an extended magazine.

Another renter who had been staying in a basement room since May 2 told police that he'd been aware of the problems that Sergey and Kimberly were having with Lett, according to the affidavit.

The renter said that he was in his own room that night when he heard the hosts knock on Lett's door. He heard Sergey mention getting a camera back, the affidavit says, then suddenly heard four or five gunshots. The renter said that he dropped to the ground, then went outside and saw Sergey and Kimberly.

Portland police took Lett to the bureau's North Precinct, where the affidavit says he was advised of his Miranda rights by two detectives.

Lett gave the detectives his own version of events, the affidavit says — acknowledging that his stay at the Airbnb had been a "rollercoaster," but claiming that the problems seemed to start when he notified the hosts that he'd bought a gun.

"Mr. Lett said Sergey and Kimberly put a camera outside his door and [this] made him feel unsafe," the affidavit reads.

While Lett's version of the night of the shooting largely agreed with the other witnesses, Lett said that Sergey not only asked about the camera through the door but "threatened to kill" him.

"Mr. Lett said Sergey was pulling hard on his door handle, so Mr. Lett started shooting into the doorway where he thought Sergey was standing," the affidavit continues. "Mr. Lett said he wouldn't do anything different if the situation were to happen again, except he would have hit Sergey instead of Kimberly."

Lett expressed remorse for shooting Kimberly, and "grew somber" when he first learned that he'd hit her and not Sergey, according to the affidavit.

Lett allegedly told police that he should be on medication for a mental illness — one not specified in the affidavit — but does not take them. He reported that he'd been hospitalized before for mental illness, the affidavit says.

Prior to this week, Lett had no known criminal history, according to a motion for release filed on his behalf. He reported that he'd been "couch surfing" for the last two years, subsisting on disability benefits and producing TikTok videos.

Unlike the probable cause affidavit, the motion for release reported that Lett did not have a mental health diagnosis or prescribed medication.

The judge hearing Lett's case for Friday's arraignment deferred security, meaning he will be held without the possibility of conditional release until a further hearing. During his brief statement to the court, Sergey stressed that Lett should not be allowed bail.

"I do not believe that he can be released, because he literally did this for no reason," Sergey said. "I was at his door, I asked him if I could have the camera back that he stole, and after that he opened fire at me and my girlfriend ... this is a person that is unpredictable."

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