PALO ALTO, CA – Police arrested an armed domestic violence suspect Saturday afternoon after a 29-hour standoff at a residence that began Friday morning.
On Friday, August 2, 2019 at about 9:18 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a woman who was inside a residence in the 300 block of Tennessee Lane with a female friend and that friend’s boyfriend. The woman reported that the suspect had attempted to strangle her friend (the victim, a woman in her twenties) earlier in the day. The caller said that both women had locked themselves in a bedroom away from the suspect, whom she reported was in possession of a handgun. Public safety dispatchers instructed the women to climb out the bedroom window and meet responding officers outside, which they did. Personnel from the Palo Alto Fire Department treated the victim, who had sustained visible injuries to her neck, and released her at the scene.
The suspect remained locked inside the home and responding officers could see him pacing and holding a handgun. The Special Weapons & Tactics (SWAT) Team and Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) both responded, and over the course of the next several hours, crisis negotiators made repeated attempts to arrange the suspect’s peaceful surrender. While the suspect would intermittently speak with negotiators, he remained defiant and repeatedly stated he would shoot anyone who entered the residence to arrest him. Tactical officers from the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety also responded and provided support throughout the incident, as did personnel from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. At one point during the negotiations, police used a robot to enter the home in an effort to provide a better communication link to the suspect. The suspect wound up firing his handgun at the robot, causing damage to it.
While the incident was unfolding, detectives obtained a warrant for the suspect’s arrest for domestic violence and assault likely to produce great bodily injury, and police also obtained a Gun Violence Restraining Order requiring the suspect to surrender his weapon to officers. Officers also obtained an Emergency Protective Restraining Order for the victim, to help protect her against future acts of domestic violence at the hands of the suspect.
During the overnight hours, our SWAT and CNT teams were relieved by the Mountain View Los Altos Regional SWAT Team and hostage negotiators.
Our SWAT and CNT teams returned on the morning of August 3 to resume operations. The suspect continued to refuse to surrender, so just before 2:30 p.m., SWAT personnel inserted chemical agents into the home. Within 15 minutes, the suspect emerged from the back door. When he did not comply with arrest commands, officers fired a less-lethal projectile weapon at him, striking him in the stomach. A minor struggle ensued but officers were soon able to take him into custody. No officers sustained injuries. Police recovered the handgun inside the home and found that it was loaded with an illegal high-capacity magazine. Paramedics from the Palo Alto Fire Department, who had been staged in the neighborhood as a precaution for nearly the entirety of this incident, transported the suspect to a local hospital for a medical clearance prior to booking, as is standard when someone is exposed to chemical agents and/or struck with a less-lethal projectile.
Police booked 29-year-old Palo Alto resident Adam Allen Smith into the Santa Clara County Main Jail pursuant to the arrest warrant (for domestic violence and assault likely to produce great bodily injury, both felonies), felony vandalism (for the damage caused by shooting at the robot), malicious and willful discharge of a firearm at an inhabited dwelling (again, for firing the round inside the home), and three misdemeanors: resisting arrest, possession of a large-capacity magazine, and failure to register a handgun in California. Smith’s booking photo is attached to this release.
We are grateful for the able assistance we received from many partner agencies during the course of this 29-hour incident. Those agencies included the Palo Alto Fire Department, the Palo Alto Utilities Department, the Mountain View Police Department, the Los Altos Police Department, the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, and the Stanford Department of Public Safety.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voicemail 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.