SAN DIEGO -- A Spring Valley man accused of posting YouTube videos showing him loading and aiming guns out of a window at people walking by his downtown San Diego hotel room pleaded not guilty to six felony charges Monday.
Steve Homoki, 30, was charged with three felony counts each of possession of an assault weapon and child endangerment. The child endangerment charges allege that Homoki put his three children in danger by possessing illegal weapons. Homoki is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
“These guns were easily accessible to the children, and that’s one of the reasons you see three of the charges for child endangerment,” said Deputy District Attorney Wendy Patrick.
The San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force received a tip last week "concerning very distressing YouTube videos threatening firearm violence linked to San Diego," according to San Diego Police Lt. Shawn Takeuchi.
In a pair of YouTube videos he's accused of posting on Sept. 17 and 18 -- apparently filmed with a body camera -- guns, high-capacity magazines and hundreds of bullets can be seen strewn around a guest room at the hotel.
According to prosecutors, the videos feature footage of Homoki pointing assault rifles at pedestrians from his room overlooking West Broadway. In one video, he allegedly takes aim at a person walking outside, pulls the trigger -- to no effect -- and says, "One down, more to go."
“There are guns visible everywhere," Patrick said. "He takes each of these weapons, points them carefully at a pedestrian outside, dry fires the weapon, sometimes even says the word boom as he does it,”
Prosecutors believe Homoki recorded the video sometime in March and checked into the hotel under a false name.
Homoki's arrest stemmed from a tip to the San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force on Dec. 2, SDPD Lt. Shawn Takeuchi said. Court documents state the person who provided the tip reported noticing Homoki "slowly become less stable over the period of almost an entire year" and alleged he "is planning something or already has a plan."
Despite the tip and videos alerting law enforcement, Homoki was not charged for any of his alleged conduct within the hotel room. Patrick said none of the actions in the videos are necessarily illegal, but spoke to the danger Homoki allegedly posed. The prosecutor also said police had grounds to serve a search warrant at Homoki's home because some of the guns in the videos resembled illegal firearms.
At his home, Patrick said police found 14 firearms, including three assault weapons that are prohibited to own in California. Patrick alleged the guns were lying around the house, many of which were loaded and easily accessible to Homoki's three children.
San Diego police served a gun violence restraining order against Homoki on Friday, ordering him to surrender all firearms in his possession and prohibiting him from owning or purchasing any more firearms.
Warning: The video below may be disturbing to some viewers
“This investigation exemplifies how the San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force works every day to address violent threats to the people and institutions of San Diego," San Diego FBI Special-Agent-In-Charge Scott Brunner said in a statement. "The extraordinarily swift investigative efforts put forth by the dedicated Agents and Officers of the San Diego JTTF quickly identified, located and arrested Mr. Homoki, preventing further incident. This exemplary result embodies the very essence of what the Joint Terrorism Task Force can achieve. Just three days ago Mr. Homoki was an unknown poster of disturbing videos and is now behind bars, his threats neutralized. This investigation is a truly extraordinary accomplishment. "
Homoki is due back in court Dec. 18 for a status conference. If he is convicted of all the charges against him, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 year and 8 months in prison.