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


Subject :

Hoax Phoned-In Threat Results in Significant Police Response
Contact : Janine De la Vega, Public Affairs Manager    650-329-2413

Palo Alto, CA – An unknown suspect called police dispatch last night and falsely reported an emergency at a residence, resulting in a significant police response. Officers determined the call was a hoax, and that no emergency had occurred.

On Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at 9:16 p.m. our 24-hour dispatch center received a report from an untraceable number with a male caller identifying himself by name, stating that he had just shot his wife inside their home in the 900 block of Emerson Street. He also reported he had his children tied up, had multiple pipe bombs, and would harm police if they came to help.

Many officers, including trained crisis negotiators, responded and surrounded the home. Officers used a public address system to contact the residents inside. Two residents, including one man with the same name as the caller, came outside and had no idea what was going on. Officers entered the home and confirmed that no crime had occurred, there were no pipe bombs, and in fact, there were no children present. The entire call was a hoax, and the suspect had falsely impersonated the actual resident by using his name.

The suspect could face multiple criminal charges, as well as face potential civil liability as a cost recovery measure for the law enforcement response. Hoax threats such as this are not only criminal in nature, but they also create a great deal of stress and anxiety for neighbors. The law enforcement response to this incident took officers away from their other important duties and calls. Anyone found responsible for placing a hoax call like this will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Detectives are investigating this incident.

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