A warning about public party invites

Law enfocement: mass texts and public social media invites are a bad idea

Fresno, Calif. - It's the season for graduation parties and barbecues and because of that there's a warning from the Fresno County Sheriff's Office to avoid unwanted guests showing up at your home.

The warning centers on public invitations to parties on social media and through mass text messages. Law enforcement leaders say they are not a good idea. Investigators say it has lead to unpredictable out of control parties in the past and in some cases people have been killed.

It can start at a simple text message, or even a public event invitation on social media, but officers say it's asking for trouble.

"You have these text message blast parties basically. You've got people showing up at your doorstep that you've never seen in your life," said Tony Botti of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

Violence has a tendency to erupt at these large unpredictable parties.

"Anytime you bring strangers into your home you invite potential problems. They bring their friends and next thing you know you have some rival groups there, they start fighting maybe they pull out some weapons," said Botti.

In January of 2016 Fresno County deputies responded to Easton where a large house party was hosting as many as 125 people. A fight broke out and shots were fired. 19-year-old Kayla Deborde and 17-year-old William Harris were killed.

"There was all different types of people out here. I believe this party was out on social media. I'm guessing some people showed up. They were uninvited," said Sgt. Joe Smith of the Fresno County Sheriff's Department while investigating the scene.

Just a few weeks earlier 57-year-old Guy Birrenkott died after trying to break up a wild party at his property on Fuller Avenue near Woodward Park. Investigators also say this party that cost a man his life and left behind busted windows and plenty of damage was fueled by a public invitation.

"A lot of people showed up based on invitations from social media," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. 

Investigators say they'll be also looking to shut down "fusion parties" a concern in the past because of underage drinking and drug use.
"That's something we will look into and and will look to prosecute to the fullest so make smart decisions," said Botti.

Property owners will be held accountable for anything illegal that takes place at their homes.

Law enforcement leaders say the best thing to do is have a guest list and call authorities if uninvited guests show up.

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