San Jose man charged with shooting unarmed Black man renting Airbnb, DA says

Authorities are investigating potential hate crime allegations.

Saturday, December 10, 2022
SJ man charged with shooting unarmed Black man renting Airbnb
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A San Jose man is being arraigned in the shooting of an unarmed Black man who was renting a nearby Airbnb, the Santa Clara County DA's Office says.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In Santa Clara County, a man is facing felony charges after the district attorney says he shot an unarmed Black man who was renting an Airbnb in his neighborhood.

Police are investigating potential hate crime allegations.

"Not every case of cross-racial violence is a hate crime," Legal Analyst Steven Clark weighed in.

The victim was seriously injured but survived. The shooting happened on Oct. 2, the DA filed the complaint against the suspect, 66-year-old Mark Henry Waters, who is white.

According to the DA, the victim was a 21-year-old Black man.

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Police reports obtained at the Santa Clara County courthouse say the victim was renting a room through Airbnb at a home, located across the street from the suspect's house.

The San Jose Police officers who took the victim's statement reported that he said "he was going to Safeway to get some Udon noodles and juice."

He went on to say, "When he went out, he crossed the street because he had to turn on that side of the road, and before he was even on the side of the road, the suspect approached him and shot him."

The statement continued by saying, "When he saw the gun, he turned and tried to run behind a car but was shot before he could make it."

The victim suffered a gunshot wound in his leg that resulted in a broken femur, the injuries were non-life threatening.

Police say it was the suspect, Waters, who called 911.

The police report also detailed what Waters told officers saying, "The victim walked toward him. He thought that the victim had a gun. He further articulated by saying he saw something black, and he later realized it was a pair of headphones."

Police say after that, he asked for an attorney and declined to comment any further but stated later at booking specifically "I can't take it back, what I have done. I have paid the price. I f***ed up."

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ABC7 went to the home of Waters and did not get an answer. An attorney who said he represents Waters said that there was no comment at this time.

"He's going to be carefully reviewed for what groups he may be associated with, what issues he may have stated on social media," Legal Analyst Clark told ABC7 News. "All of that will go into the calculus as to whether or not the additional enhancements of a hate crime are associated with this assault case."

Waters who has been out on bail is charged with assault with a semiautomatic firearm a felony charge.

"Everyone should be safe walking to the store," said District Attorney Jeff Rosen, in a statement, "We will not tolerate such senseless and violent acts in this County. We wish the victim a speedy recovery and will make sure he receives justice for this brutal assault."

Airbnb reached out to ABC7 with a statement saying:

"We condemn this vicious and unprovoked attack. We thank the San Jose Police Department as well as the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office for their work to hold the perpetrator accountable and to send a message that hate crimes have no place in our society."

Rosen's office says law enforcement is investigating potential hate crime allegations.

"Just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it is not a justification for being shot," Clark said. "I think the DA's office will treat this case very seriously because this should never have happened, even if it's not a hate crime."

Waters is expected to be in court Monday afternoon for arraignment.

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