News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
650-329-2607
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301

9/7/2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE 09072016
Subject :

Police Arrest Man for Arson at Local Hotel; No Injuries
Contact : James Reifschneider, Sergeant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA – Police arrested a man last night for arson and a litany of other charges after he set fire to a hotel room and later threatened officers with a knife.  No one was injured.

On Tuesday, September 6, 2016, at about 8:48 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call reporting a fire at the Glass Slipper Inn at 3941 El Camino Real.  Personnel from the Palo Alto Fire Department and officers responded immediately.  The fire was coming from a single hotel room on the second floor, and flames were visible from the open hotel room door.  No one was in the room by the time first responders arrived on scene.  Emergency personnel teamed up with hotel staff to evacuate all 23 hotel guests.

On-scene fire personnel called a second alarm, with multiple fire units from the Palo Alto Fire Department, Mountain View Fire Department, and Santa Clara County Fire Department ultimately responding to assist.  Firefighters were able to extinguish the main fire within 15 minutes, and had it completely out within 30 minutes.  They were able to limit the fire damage to the single hotel room (with some extension of fire damage into the attic) and water damage to adjoining rooms.  Investigators from the Palo Alto Fire Department determined that the fire appeared to be of suspicious origin, and began conducting an arson investigation alongside detectives from the Palo Alto Police Department. No one was injured in the blaze.

The investigation revealed that the room had been rented by a woman in her twenties.  The woman's estranged husband, against whom she had a no-contact domestic violence restraining order, was in her hotel room and started a verbal argument with her.  The woman left before the argument got physical, leaving him by himself in the room.  She later received a call from the hotel manager informing her of the fire in her room, and she returned to the scene to meet with investigators.

At about 10:30 p.m., an officer from the Mountain View Police Department happened to contact the estranged husband in the 1800 block of California Street in Mountain View.  The suspect immediately produced a large pocket knife, pointed it at the officer, and threatened the officer to shoot him.  As other officers arrived on scene to assist, they were able to safely take the suspect into custody.  No injuries occurred during the arrest.  Police discovered that the suspect had an outstanding felony warrant for a probation violation, and was also in possession of methamphetamine and narcotics paraphernalia.

Upon learning the suspect was possibly connected to the arson, Mountain View Police Department officers turned the suspect over to the custody of Palo Alto detectives.

Police booked 22-year-old East Palo Alto resident Miguel Angel Gamero into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for arson (a felony), plus assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer (a felony), brandishing a weapon at a peace officer (a misdemeanor), possession of methamphetamine and narcotics paraphernalia (both misdemeanors), and pursuant to the felony warrant for probation violation.  Gamero is on active probation in San Mateo County stemming from a prior conviction of violating a restraining order.  Police are also recommending new charges of violating a restraining order as a result of the contact the suspect had with the victim at the hotel.  The suspect's booking photo is attached.

The American Red Cross responded to the scene to assist the displaced residents with emergency housing.  Eleven of the 23 evacuees received emergency overnight housing at the Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto; the others worked out alternate overnight housing arrangements as the arson investigation continued.

Both directions of El Camino Real between Ventura Avenue and Los Robles Avenue were shut down for about 3.5 hours while emergency personnel handled the firefighting and ensuing investigation.  Police re-opened the roadway at about 12:30 a.m.

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 paloalto@tipnow.org 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 bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.





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