SAN ANTONIO HEIGHTS - Many people look forward to the weekends as a chance to unwind and enjoy some leisure time, but for residents of some Inland Empire communities, weekends bring anxiety and fear.

Party promoters are increasingly turning to large homes in upscale neighborhoods as the venues of choice to host a variety of events, including music launch parties and video filmings as well as private lavish birthday parties.

Recently, the foothill community of San Antonio Heights was rocked by a fatal shooting that some residents is connected to a home notorious for having large, loud and sometimes violent parties.

Ryan Christopher Lancaster, 28, of Victorville was shot Jan. 12 near Mountain and Euclid avenues after allegedly attending a party at 2533 Mountain Ave., according to San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies.

"How many times does crime need to take place at this house before there are criminal charges rather than civil misdemeanors?" said Holly Wood, a resident and member of the San Antonio Heights Association board.

Devoughn Allen, 22, of Rialto was fatally shot in 2008 at the home during an event advertised through flyers as an invite-only birthday party.

However, the invitations could easily be downloaded and printed off of the Internet.

San Antonio Heights residents and association members met with San Bernardino County sheriff's officials in January to discuss the party house.


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Wood said the Sheriff's Department is asking the community to help by reporting what they find and see, however, many residents are worried about retaliation by the people involved in the crimes at the house.

Sheriff's officials "fully disclosed to us the elements going on at that house include gang violence, pornography, prostitution, pole dancing auditorium style, nudity, drive by shootings, guns - these are the topics that they discuss, which put the fear factor in the people," Wood said.

While it's unclear just how many homes are up for rent for these types of parties, finding a mansion to host a large party is only a quick Internet-search away.

"All you have to do is Google `mansion events SoCal,' and see what comes up," said Shaun Michael, a 25-year-old event promoter from the High Desert.

Michael has arranged various live shows at numerous venues and clubs in the High Desert, but with the number of safe and legitimate locations dwindling, he's recently been focusing on events such as the High Desert Mavericks Mud Run held in Adelanto and live concerts.

"There are a lot of guys and promoters who try to find legitimate venues in cities like Victorville only to get refused. That's when they turn to renting mansions, clubs and other alternative venues," Michael said.

Besides the home on Mountain Avenue, at least two other large home in Upland are listed as venues on websites such as eventful.com that promotes and allows users to search for local events.

Others book the large homes for video shoots and look for extras through community message boards such as CragisList.com.

Even when planners take the extra precautions necessary and to hire security for these types of events, law enforcement officials said announcing a gathering on social media such as Facebook can make it harder to keep a handle on attendees.

In Allen's fatal shooting in 2008, security had been hired and they used metal detectors to search guests upon entry.

Sheriff's investigators determined Allen was a part of a group of uninvited guests who were turned away at the door prior to the shooting.

Deputies estimated between 300 and 350 attended the birthday event.

It wasn't clear how many people attended the party on Jan. 11, but, according to a Facebook posting for the event, more than 1,000 were invited and the address for the Mountain Avenue home was widely circulated through Twitter and other forms of social media.

During an unrelated investigation focusing on the Mountain Avenue home, deputies recently arrested Lewis Norman on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm, said Jodi Miller spokeswoman for the sheriff's department. 

"Deputies were doing a follow-up of a possible sexual assault (that took place) at the home on Jan. 6 during a party," Miller said.

It wasn't clear if the Jan. 6 party was also a large-scale event.

County code enforcement also issued citations for various violations, including charging an entry fee when not authorized and not having the proper permits for holding large events.

A search of property information shows the owner of the Mountain Avenue home as Paula Cavy of Rancho Cucamonga. She was also owner of America World Financial Group.

The phone number associated with that business has been disconnected.

Sheriff's authorities advise residents who suspect homes in their neighborhoods are being used as illegal party houses to alert their local law enforcement station.

In the case of the Jan. 11 party, many residents knew about the event but failed to alert the Fontana station.

Wood said it speaks to how frightened many San Antonio Heights residents have become.


Reach Beatriz via email, call her at 909-386-3921, or find her on Twitter @IEBeatriz.
Reach Sandra via email, call her at 909-483-8555, or find her on Twitter @UplandNow.