Palo Alto, CA – Last night, police arrested the suspect who shot a handgun into a vehicle in the parking of the Safeway store in the Midtown neighborhood of Palo Alto on August 3.
On Friday, August 3, 2018, at about 9:15 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received multiple calls of a shooting that had just occurred in the parking lot of the Safeway store at 2811 Middlefield Road. As officers responded to the scene, they observed a white Lexus SUV with paper license plates leaving the area. The vehicle appeared to have a shattered window. When police went to stop the car, it fled and officers pursued it, ultimately discontinuing the pursuit on Highway 101 as it was driving erratically. Other officers at Safeway were unable to locate a victim or others involved in the shooting.
After the preliminary investigation, officers were able to determine that the driver of the Lexus had gotten into a confrontation with the suspect in the parking lot and was actually the shooting victim. The suspect fired multiple rounds from a semi-automatic handgun into the victim’s vehicle before the victim sped away. As the victim remains unknown, police do not know if the gunshots struck him.
Following up on investigative leads and evidence collected at the scene, including surveillance images of the suspect from inside Safeway that we publicly released on August 4, detectives were able to positively identify the suspect as 37-year-old Christian David Poppe of Henderson, Nevada. On Tuesday, August 7, detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest (for assault with a deadly weapon involving a firearm, negligent discharge of a firearm, and discharging a firearm at an occupied vehicle, all felonies) and began actively searching for him.
That searching led detectives to believe that the suspect was frequenting various locations in Contra Costa County and the Tri-Valley area. On August 8, we worked closely with the Walnut Creek Police Department’s Special Enforcement Team and personnel from the Danville Police Department to locate the suspect. At about 6:22 p.m., officers from the Danville Police Department located the suspect driving in the 500 block of San Ramon Valley Boulevard in Danville. They conducted an enforcement stop and arrested him without incident pursuant to the warrant. Palo Alto detectives took custody of the suspect. Police recovered a 9mm semi-automatic handgun inside the suspect’s vehicle, a black 2013 Chevrolet Silverado pick-up, which they believe was the weapon used in the shooting.
Police still have not located the victim or the victim’s vehicle. He is a black male in his twenties or thirties, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt. Detectives seek to interview the victim to determine his injuries (if any) and to more fully understand the circumstances of the confrontation in the parking lot between him and the suspect. There is no indication at this point that the two men knew each other.
Detectives booked the suspect into the Santa Clara County Main Jail pursuant to the arrest warrant. His booking photo 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 email@example.com 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.