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CA man arrested on gun charges over videos showing apparent mass shooting practice

Police handcuff suspect. (MaxPixel/Released)

Authorities arrested a 30-year-old Spring Valley 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 into San Diego County Jail on suspicion of three felony counts of possession of an assault weapon and misdemeanor counts of possession of a high capacity magazine and child endangerment.

Homoki is scheduled to be arraigned Monday morning, though his arraignment would likely be pushed back 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 Monday 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 Spring Valley residence, 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 different 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 the room 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 2019, 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, located above a coffee shop on Broadway and Front Street, is situated across the street from the Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse.

In one video, the man recording points a handgun and a rifle with a scope toward the closed window of the hotel room.

In a second video, the room is strewn with bullets, several firearms and a mannequin head, among other items. After pulling the trigger on an unloaded rifle and then tossing it away, the man recording the video picks up another rifle and mumbles to himself, “One down, more to go.”

Brunner praised the Joint Terrorism Task Force and its “extraordinarily swift investigative efforts.”

Takeuchi called Homoki’s arrest “an example of a community member coming forward with information that posed an immediate threat to San Diegans.” The lieutenant thanked the community “for their shared efforts to keep everyone safe.”


© 2019 The San Diego Union-Tribune