A handyman was shot trying to break up an Airbnb party in the 1300 block of Broadway in Pendleton. (Photo: The Enquirer)
A Delhi Township man was arrested Wednesday in connection with the shooting of an Airbnb handyman last month who was trying to break up a party.
Bryon Prather, 46, is charged with felonious assault.
Police have not said if Prather was actually the man who shot handyman Stephen Knight on August 16. Court documents state Prather was a “primary aggressor” in a group of 10 to 12 people who attacked Knight.
Airbnb has been attempted to crack down on unauthorized parties, which are against its policies designed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Local Airbnb hosts have reported incidents of property destruction and even violence related to parties, and even Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac has said that these parties are likely happening because bars are closing early.
Isaac urged the city to lift the 10 p.m. last call after he said several shootings occurred at these unauthorized and unregulated parties.
The Aug. 16 party took place in Pendleton Airbnb rented by Jeron Prather, the nephew of mayoral candidate Kelli Prather.
Police said Knight came to break up the party, but was backed into a wall, punched and beaten.
“Knight fired a single shot from his .380 pistol into the wall in an attempt to stop the assault, but was then shot in the back by one of his attackers,” court documents state.
Jeron and Kelli Prather both say that it was Knight who was the aggressor.
“The party was not rowdy,” Kelli Prather said. “If Stephen thought there was a problem he should have brought the police. He came and put a gun to my family members.”
Jeron Prather acknowledges that the party – for his mother’s birthday – was likely in violation of Airbnb rules.
“I don’t think a lot of people who rent Airbnbs always follow the rules. They have parties. To me it was like a hotel, you have a couple people upstairs,” he said. “From my understanding we were in violation of the rules.”
He said that his group had already been asked to leave by another man and they were packing up when Knight arrived.
The owner of the property, Chris Hikel, said Jeron Prather had asked to rent the property for a few friends visiting on business.
Hikel said when he learned of the party, he reached out and told them to shut it down, but that Jeron Prather refused, telling him to call the police.
Knight spent more than a week in the hospital following the shooting and was then moved to a rehabilitation center where he had to learn to walk again, his father told The Enquirer.
Bryon Prather’s relationship to Jeron and Kelli Prather is unclear at the time of this report. He is being held at the Hamilton County Justice Center awaiting a hearing Thursday.
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