Join Fox News for access to this content

You have reached your maximum number of articles. Log in or create an account FREE of charge to continue reading.

Please enter a valid email address.

A $2 million settlement — and pending lawsuits — after a tourist was murdered during a carjacking in a rental community is a warning shot to the short-term rental industry, the victim’s mother and lawyer said.

Jeremiah Brown was 22 in July 2022, when he, his girlfriend and her children took a celebratory vacation from California to Central Florida, where they stayed at the sprawling rental community called ChampionsGate. 

Unbeknownst to them, the rental properties were actively targeted by violent criminals for months. Two days into Brown’s trip, he was fatally shot in the rib during a carjacking and thrown from his car, according to a police report.

“His life was just beginning,” his mom, Lorrie Brown, said at a press conference last week announcing the settlement. “He came to Florida to celebrate becoming a certified forklift driver. He was here for the attractions and the amusement parks. He wasn’t even here two full days when he was killed.”

SEARCH FOR MISSING CRUISE PASSENGER IN MEXICO COMPLICATED BY JUNGLE TERRAIN 

Jeremiah Brown pictured with his mom, Lorrie Brown, before he was killed on July 21, 2022.

Jeremiah Brown pictured with his mom, Lorrie Brown, before he was killed July 21, 2022.  (Submitted)

The suspects, later identified as Tyrell Johnson and Jimmy Robinson III, slipped past security through a broken gate and entered the property through an exit lane, according to a police report.

Both suspects’ cellphones shared the same location history and travel route from about 11:35 p.m. July 20, 2022, to 1:30 a.m. on July 21, 2022, the report says. 

HIDDEN CAMERA WARNING FOR TRAVELERS IN HOTELS, RENTALS: WHAT TO KNOW AND HOW TO FIND THEM

That includes the time of the homicide, which the report narrows down to a window between 12:21 a.m. and 1:29 a.m. July 21, 2022. 

The suspects were charged with grand theft and accessory. Johnson pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years behind bars, court records show, while Robinson’s case is pending.

Lorrie and her lawyer, Pedro Echarte, secured a settlement from ChampionsGate’s security company, RAMCO Protective of Orlando, Inc., but they both said the rental community, and the industry as a whole, has blood on its hands. 

Jeremiah Brown joking with his mom, Lorri.

Jeremiah Brown joking with his mom, Lorrie.  (Submitted)

RAMCO Protective of Orlando did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment, and a representative for the rental section of ChampionsGate, which is separate from Omni ChampionsGate resort, could not be reached.

But Lorrie and her lawyer said they — and the short-term rental market industry — are “partly to blame” for Jeremiah’s death, and the industry needs an overhaul. 

ChampionsGate “should’ve put safety before their bottom line” and warned Jeremiah and other renters about the spike in violent crimes in and around the area, Echarte told Fox News Digital. 

WATCH: FLORIDA POLICE, GUNMAN EXCHANGE GUNFIRE IN HOTEL AFTER COPS LURED BY BOGUS MURDER CONFESSION: BODYCAM

Jeremiah Brown is pictured here with his brother

Jeremiah Brown is pictured here with his brother. Their mother said Jeremiah was a hardworking man who liked to joke around. (Submitted)

Johnson was among victims of 11 crimes in ChampionsGate between Nov. 22, 2021, and Jan. 3, 2022, according to the police report.

“They (ChampionsGate) withheld information that could’ve changed Jeremiah’s mind about where to stay and spared his life,” said Echarte, who stressed the risks of short-term rentals are not isolated to the Florida community. 

“It’s a massive, unregulated industry that operates without any real regulations.”

Airbnb could not immediately be reached for comment.

Read the full police report

When Airbnbs became popular 

Business for short-term rentals, like Airbnbs, boomed during the pandemic when many hotels were forced to close, according to a March 2024 report by Airdna.

They outperformed hotels in average daily rates, revenue per available room and length of stay, and demand is projected to increase from 14.6% in 2023 to an estimated 15.4% in 2024, the report says.

AMERICANS STRANDED BY NORWEGIAN CRUISE SAVE ELDERLY PASSENGER, WHOSE FAMILY SAYS: SHIP ‘LEFT HER TO DIE’

Precedence Research, a market research company, said in a February 2024 report the global short-term rental market size surpassed $112.31 billion in 2023 and is projected to hit about $315.18 billion by 2033. 

In the U.S., the market will hit about $29.09 billion in 2023 and is poised to soar to approximately $81.63 billion by 2023, according to Precedence Research. 

“With the rise of online platforms and booking websites such as Airbnb, Vrbo and Booking.com, short-term rentals have become increasingly popular among travelers seeking unique and flexible lodging options,” the report says. 

Growth of short term rentals, according to a study by Precedence Research.

Growth of short-term rentals, according to a study by Precedence Research. (Precedence Research.)

Potential pitfalls

But it also comes with risks because there’s no overseeing body or uniform regulations on short-term rentals, said Echarte, who said the potential dangers depend on where the rental is located. 

He said he has another civil case in which dozens of vacationers were sickened by carbon monoxide poisoning in a Mexican Airbnb, which is still being fought in the courts. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP 

“I hope these companies learn from their mistakes that murder can be prevented,” Lorrie Brown said during a press conference last week outside ChampionsGate. 

Read More: World News | Entertainment News | Celeb News
Fox News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Exclusive – Tax Documents: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Turns to Soros-Funded Groups and Democrats to Keep Dwindling Operations Alive

Tax documents for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and for a…

Drone video shows total destruction in former Gaza ‘safe area’

NewsFeed Al Jazeera drone video shows the widespread destruction of neighbourhoods in…