A white California man has been charged with shooting a black Airbnb guest after his attorneys claim he mistook the man for a thief who had broken into his car just days before.
Mark Henry Waters, 66, plead not guilty on Monday in the Oct. 2 shooting of an unnamed 21-year-old victim in a quiet North San Jose neighborhood, ABC7 reported.
Waters was initially released on bail, but the judge returned him to jail after determining that he was too dangerous to be out in public.
Waters is charged with assault with a semi-automatic weapon, personal infliction of great bodily harm, and use of a firearm, according to Deputy District Attorney Aidan Walsh.
Police are also investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Prosecutors argued in court Monday that the victim, who was not present, left his Airbnb rental to walk to the grocery store.
Surveillance footage reportedly shows Waters approaching the victim with a gun.
He then allegedly shot the man while his back was turned, resulting in a broken femur.
“[Waters] comprehended and knew that the victim was running away, and he shot him anyway,” Welsh said. “There was nothing that would cause him to fear the victim, the victim had not stepped foot at his front door on his driveway in his front yard.”
Waters’ attorney, Jose Badillo, agreed that while the sexagenarian knew the victim was fleeing, he suspected the stranger could be one of the suspects who broke into his car and stole his garage door openers a few nights before.
Badillo also claimed that Waters, who has no prior criminal record and looks after his grandchildren, mistook the victim’s headphones for a gun.