|NEWS RELEASE||The City of Palo Alto|
Public Information Office
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||PRESS RELEASE #02062014|
|Subject :||Officers Safely Arrest Suspect After Violent Struggle Over Officer’s Gun|
|Contact :||Kara Apple, Sergeant, Police Department 650-329-2413|
|Palo Alto, CA -- An officer responding to several 9-1-1 calls reporting a suspect's bizarre behavior in downtown Palo Alto was soon in a fight for his life when the suspect ripped the officer’s holstered firearm from the duty belt and pointed it at the officer. Another officer had to use their TASER to help subdue the suspect before they were able to take the suspect into custody.|
On Thursday, February 6, 2014, at about 2:49 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a 9-1-1 call from a resident in the 200 block of Emerson Street reporting that they had seen an unknown suspect in their backyard. The caller watched as the suspect jumped over a fence to exit the yard. The suspect then fled on foot and was last seen heading northbound on Emerson Street towards Hawthorne Avenue. Officers began searching the area.
At about 2:56 p.m., we received another 9-1-1 call reporting a possible commercial burglary in progress at The Hookah Spot, a business at 235 University Avenue that was closed at the time. That caller reported seeing a suspect jump out of a window of the business and run northbound on Ramona Street towards Lytton Avenue. A third 9-1-1 call came in at the same time from Mills the Florist (which is also at 235 University Avenue, and which was open for business), where a caller reported the suspect had just walked into an employee-only area of the store and then walked into The Hookah Spot through an interior passageway. The description of the suspect from all three 9-1-1 calls was similar.
At about 2:57 p.m., a patrol officer spotted the suspect walking westbound on the south sidewalk of Lytton Avenue approaching Emerson Street, and saw that he was bleeding from a cut to the head. The officer attempted to detain him for investigation. When the officer directed him to stop, the suspect immediately attacked the officer, and the two began struggling on the sidewalk. During the course of the struggle, the suspect was able to physically separate the officer’s holstered firearm from his duty belt. The suspect pointed the still-holstered weapon (a Glock 22 .40 caliber handgun) at the officer, but was unable to remove the weapon from the holster, so it would not fire despite him attempting to access the trigger. The officer tackled the suspect and continued fighting with him on the ground for control of the holstered weapon. The officer’s head struck an electrical box during the struggle, and the suspect bit the officer on his shoulder.
Two other officers arrived on scene within thirty seconds, and one of those officers was forced to use their TASER one time to help overcome the suspect’s resistance and take him into custody. The still-holstered firearm was safely recovered nearby. Even after being handcuffed, the suspect continued to resist the officers. Officers had to use a leg restraint, as well as a WRAP safe restraint system (a leg immobilization device that keeps an arrestee in an upright position of recovery), to help control the suspect in a safe manner.
The initial officer sustained moderate injuries to his hands and knees, as well as pain to his head and minor injuries to his shoulder. This officer was treated and released from a local hospital. A second officer received minor injuries to his hands, but declined medical treatment. No other officers were injured.
The suspect sustained moderate injuries to his head and mouth. Police believe those injuries were primarily the result of the suspect diving through the plate-glass window to exit The Hookah Spot (as witnessed by one of the 9-1-1 callers). Paramedics from the Palo Alto Fire Department transported the suspect to a local hospital, where he remains under observation and in police custody at this time. This is standard procedure following a TASER activation.
Since the suspect has not yet been booked into jail, we are not releasing his name or city of residence at this time. The suspect is a 34-year-old male. A separate news release will follow once the suspect has been booked into jail. That release will include a booking photo of the suspect and a list of the charges for which he will be booked.
Anyone who witnessed this suspect’s behavior, or who has information about this incident, is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.