Airbnb guest accused of shooting woman appears in court
Caveion Lett had been staying in the unit for several months before the shooting, which seriously 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 court appearance Friday.
Caveion Lett, 21, is charged with attempted second degree 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 Northeast Grand Airbnb unit near Northeast Going for several months prior to the shooting. The owner and Airbnb host, identified by the name Kimberly, is said to have rented three basement rooms in all.
Kimberly’s boyfriend, identified in the affidavit as Sergey, told police they had problems with Lett and tried to get him to leave. The tenant had also become increasingly paranoid over the past week, Sergey told detectives, and his unusual behavior had escalated.
“Sergey further explained that Mr. Lett made vague threats to have a gun and that he texted Kimberly a picture of the gun,” the affidavit from the prosecutor’s office reads.
Sergey said he placed a camera in the basement common area to keep an eye on the situation, and they came to believe that Lett had “moved the camera,” the affidavit states.
During Lett’s arraignment on Friday, Sergey addressed the court remotely, saying he believed Lett stole the camera.
On the night of the shooting, Sergey said he came home from work to find Kimberly was planning to serve an eviction notice on Lett. They both went down to Lett’s bedroom and knocked on his door “and asked him about the camera through the door” when filming began, according to the affidavit. Lett didn’t say a word before opening fire, according to Sergey.
Several bullets went through the door, Sergey said. Detectives later confirmed that there were five or six bullet holes in the door. Sergey told police he turned to see Kimberly on the ground, bleeding. He grabbed her and managed to drag her up the stairs and out.
Police responded shortly after 8.30pm, finding Kimberly suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest. Paramedics worked to stabilize her at the scene and she was rushed to hospital in an ambulance. Although seriously injured, Portland police say she is expected to survive.
After a long standoff and negotiations, police said Lett – still inside the basement when officers arrived – had 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 a magazine extended over a microwave in the basement common area.
Another tenant who had been staying in a basement room since May 2 told police he was aware of the issues Sergey and Kimberly were having with Lett, according to the affidavit.
The tenant said he was in his own room that night when he heard the hosts knocking on Lett’s door. He heard Sergey mention retrieving a camera, the affidavit says, then suddenly heard four or five gunshots. The tenant said he dropped to the floor, then came out and saw Sergey and Kimberly.
Portland police took Lett to the north office district, where the affidavit says he was briefed on his rights in Miranda by two detectives.
Lett gave detectives his own version of events, according to the affidavit – acknowledging that his stay at the Airbnb had been a “roller coaster”, but saying the problems seemed to start when he informed the hosts that he had bought a gun.
“Mr. Lett said that 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 other witnesses, Lett said Sergey not only asked about the camera through the door, but “threatened to kill him.”
“Mr. Lett said that Sergey was pulling hard on his doorknob, 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 hit Sergey instead of Kimberly.”
Lett expressed remorse for shooting Kimberly and “glossed” when he first learned he had hit her and not Sergey, according to the affidavit.
Lett allegedly told police he should take medication for a mental illness – not specified in the affidavit – but does not take it. He indicated that he had previously been hospitalized for a mental illness, the affidavit states.
Prior to this week, Lett had no known criminal history, according to a motion for release filed on his behalf. He said he had been “couch surfing” for the past two years, subsisting on disability benefits and producing TikTok videos.
Unlike the probable cause affidavit, the motion for release stated 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 parole until a new hearing. During his brief statement in court, Sergey stressed that Lett should not be released on bail.
“I don’t believe he can be released, because he literally did this for no reason,” Sergey said. “I was at his door, asked him if I could get the camera he stole back, and after that he opened fire on me and my girlfriend…he’s an unpredictable person .”