The Alameda County District Attorney presided over the arrest of Derick Ion Almena and Max Harris today.
The police arrested Ghost Ship "master tenant" and concert promoter Derick Ion Almena, 47, on Monday morning. He was identified soon after the fire as the Ghost Ship's informal ringleader, having led the conversion of the warehouse space into collective living quarters and a performance venue. The Los Angeles Times reports that Almena was arrested along with Max Harris, the Ghost Ship "creative director" who had been living in the space since 2014 and was working the door the night of the ill-fated 100% Silk showcase.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley held a news conference on the arrests Monday afternoon, where she announced that Almena and Harris will face 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Her statement accused Almena of renting out space in the illegally converted warehouse, and held Harris responsible for planning the unlicensed event. The Associated Press quotes O'Malley saying that the organizers were reckless and "knowingly created a firetrap with inadequate means of escape."
Earlier this year a lawsuit was also filed on behalf of the Ghost Ship victims' families, naming Almena along with the building owner, Chor N. Ng, and the local utility company, PG&E, as defendants.
The city, the press and the families of the victims have spent the last few months trying to determine who's responsible for the tragedy, which claimed the lives of artists like Chelsea Faith (Cherushii), Johnny Igaz (Nackt) and dozens more. Oakland reporters found that the owner of the building allegedly ignored complaints of serious electrical issues in the venue. They also found that firefighters had apparently visited the space, gave it an informal satisfactory assessment, and even attended a party in the second-floor area that became a deathtrap on December 2nd.