News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Murder-Suicide Investigation Ends; Possible Motive Revealed
Contact : Brian Philip, Detective Sergeant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA -- Detectives investigating the recent murder-suicide at a Palo Alto apartment complex for seniors have determined that it appears the suspect believed the victim had been stealing items from his residence, though police found no evidence that any theft had occurred.

On the afternoon of Thursday, March 19, 2015, 69-year-old tenant Marc Alvin Miller shot 70-year-old tenant (and complex manager) Vincent DePaul Collins four times with a handgun while Collins was inside his first floor office at the Alta Torre Apartments at 3895 Fabian Way.  Miller then entered a nearby elevator car and committed suicide by shooting himself once in the head.  Police recovered the gun, a 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol, at the scene.  The suspect legally possessed the gun and it was lawfully registered to him.

Detectives determined that the suspect had called the police almost six weeks earlier, on February 8, 2015, to allege that the victim had been entering his apartment when it was unoccupied and stealing miscellaneous items of personal property but nothing of obvious monetary value.  An officer responded but could find no evidence that a crime had been committed.  The officer interviewed the victim, who denied that he had committed any theft, or had even been inside the suspect's apartment without his permission.

After the murder-suicide, detectives conducted many interviews of residents, friends, family members, and others who had knowledge of the two men in an effort to determine a possible motive.  No other possible motives surfaced.  A couple of the suspect’s friends told investigators that he had complained to them about the victim possibly stealing his property, but the friends told the suspect that he had likely just misplaced the items.

Detectives searched the apartments of both men pursuant to a search warrant in the hours following the crime.  Police did not locate any of the suspect’s property inside the victim’s apartment.  Since the Alta Torre Apartments opened in 2010, there has not been a single theft or burglary reported at the facility.  The victim had worked there since it opened.

We are distributing this news release in order to inform our community about this major crime.  Typically, we do not release information about possible motives or statements of involved parties since that information, if publicly released, could potentially hinder future court proceedings.  That is not a concern of investigators in this case, since there will be no criminal prosecution.

The last homicide in Palo Alto occurred on October 15, 2009, when Bulos "Paul" Zumot murdered his girlfriend, Jennifer Schipsi, at their Addison Avenue cottage before setting fire to the residence.  In 2011, a jury convicted Zumot of first-degree murder and aggravated arson.  Zumot is currently serving 33 years in state prison.

On January 9, 2015, a man in his twenties died after being punched once in the face on December 21, 2014, following an altercation outside of a downtown bar.  Detectives tracked down and arrested Neil Brian Rotroff and Akshay Vijay Mastakar later in the day on December 21.  The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has since charged Rotroff with involuntary manslaughter, and Mastakar with assault with a deadly weapon and being an accessory to involuntary manslaughter.  Their cases are currently pending in court.

Anyone with information about the murder-suicide case is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.  Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at or