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


Subject :

Police Arrest Man for Criminal Threats, Hate Crime in Parking Lot
Contact : Brian Philip, Detective Sergeant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Tony Smith booking photo
Palo Alto, CA -- Police arrested a suspect overnight for criminal threats and a hate crime after he approached a man seated in his car in a downtown parking lot and accosted him.

On Sunday, April 19, 2015, at about 11:47 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from the victim reporting a possible carjacking attempt that had just occurred in City Parking Lot "N" at 539 Emerson Street.  The victim had called police from a business in the 500 block of Ramona Street.  Officers responded to the area immediately, and located the suspect standing outside of that business holding a small knife with a two-inch blade in his hand.  Officers took the man into custody without incident at 11:48 p.m.

The investigation revealed that the victim, a man in his thirties who is black, had been sitting in his parked vehicle with the engine running.  The suspect, whom the victim did not previously know, suddenly opened the front passenger door.  He said he had a gun and that the victim was going to die.  The victim did not see a gun but got out of his car (leaving the engine running) and began to back away.  The suspect used a racial epithet and repeated that the victim was going to die.  The victim went to the nearby business, since he had left his cell phone in the car, and called police.  It appears as though the suspect followed the victim and was looking for him when police arrived.  There is no indication that the suspect ever attempted to take the victim's vehicle.

During the course of the investigation, police found methamphetamine in the suspect’s belongings.  Officers did not locate a gun.  Police booked 61-year-old Tony Smith of Mountain View into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for criminal threats and a hate crime (both felonies), as well as possession of methamphetamine (a misdemeanor).  A booking photo of the suspect is attached to this release.

Anyone with information about this incident 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