Palo Alto man arrested after confrontation with group of teens

Man allegedly robs, attacks group playing with small noise-makers

A 24-year-old Palo Alto resident allegedly attacked and robbed a group of five teenagers Monday afternoon after a small noise-maker the teens threw off a parking garage roof hit the man, who was walking on the sidewalk below.

At around 4:41 p.m., the group of teenagers – all 14 or 15 years old, police said – arrived at the police station to report the incident that had just occurred at the 445 Bryant St. parking garage. They told police they had been throwing small, white noise-makers -- some brands are called "Snappers" or "Pop Pop" -- off the roof of the five-story garage and one hit Daniel Adam Esquivel.

Esquivel took the garage elevator to the roof and confronted the teens, police said. He shoved one of them, a 15 year old, demanded money from another, a 14 year old, and threatened to throw them off the roof, police said.

The 14 year old handed over cash from his wallet and Esquivel left on foot. The five teenagers immediately went to the police station to report the alleged crime. They provided a description of Esquivel, who police located at about 5 p.m. walking in the 300 block of University Ave.

Esquivel was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for felony robbery, felony criminal threats and misdemeanor battery.

The teens were not cited for anything, said Palo Alto police Lt. Zachary Perron.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff


Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Jun 18, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.

It seem he overreacted a bit (intended understatement), but I would be mad, too. Were the teens reprimanded for throwing the fireworks? What sort of bodily damage can they inflict?

Posted by Wondering?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2014 at 6:56 pm

First poster beat me to the question I wanted to ask.

So, wonder what the police would have done if this fellow had gone to the police station to report that teens were throwing fireworks off the garage roof and he had been slightly injured?

These kids caused this problem, and the Palo Alto Police seemed to have given them a pass.

What gives?

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 18, 2014 at 7:25 pm

When confronted with the complete negligence, idiocy, disregard and stupidity of kids throwing fireworks off a pubic parking structure, I'd have to say, the guy has a right to be almost out of his mind ... and I don't really care what he did to the kids at that point. They are lucky he did not toss them off the parking structure. How stupid are kids today? Unbelievable ... it is April Fools day or what?

Posted by Mama P, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 18, 2014 at 7:27 pm

I have know Danny since his elementary school years, he played Palo Alto little league and high school sports with my boys at Paly. He is not a felon, bully or thief. He is a respectable young man with a caring demeanor.
I can only imagine my reaction had some punky teenagers thrown objects at me, scaring and hitting me. I think they're lucky he didn't inflict real harm. I'm sure his intent was to scare them or teach them a lesson, I don't know because I haven't spoken to him, but I'd guess that's a good assumption.
Was it right for him to take their money, no, but I'm glad he reacted( and that's what it was a reaction), maybe it will teach those kids that actions have consequences. And I hope the parents of these kids don't try to take any legal actions, but instill to their kids they were lucky nothing worse happened to them, for their stupidity.
Maybe they can teach them some respect along the way.

Posted by Unknown , a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 18, 2014 at 7:33 pm

What happened to fair and balanced news reporting? What ended up happening to the young mischiefs who were conducting illegal activities and very easily could have caused bodily harm to innocent pedestrians. Why is there no mention of any kind of accountability for the kids or their parents? Seems to me there is a lot is missing information that might otherwise paint a completely different picture here. Very shameful.

Posted by huh?, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:33 pm

The news flash here seems to be that it's ok to plan and toss fireworks at people, so long as you are a juvenile in the eyes of the law. Daniel over reacted, I think most people would, I can hardly blame him. A double felony charge is over reacting in my view. If the unnamed teens got a pass on this, something is really wrong here. What did happen to the teens?

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Maybe he wanted the money [portion removed] to replace a burned shirt. What sort of fireworks *were* these, exactly?

Posted by Resident of Palo Alto, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Daniel certainly is clear of any wrong doing on his behalf, but for the journalist to suggest it was a "small" firecracker is complete ignorance and irrelevant to the story. This "small" object could have seriously injured someone and it doesn't seem to be even taken into account in the story. I'm also still looking for the part of the story where he "attacked" these young idiots ...another reckless news story full of discrepancies

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Jun 18, 2014 at 11:10 pm

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This story was bothering me, so I came back to re-read. It DID seem to imply that the teenagers were just having some harmless fun, only to be attacked by this "mean" man. Well, I now think he was totally justified, and I would have retaliated, too. It can't possibly be legal to throw fireworks (of any size) at people, can it? But I suppose these fun lovin' teens will get a pass. And what chutzpah of them to report that THEY were attacked.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 18, 2014 at 11:49 pm

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Perhaps if the parents of these puerile brats had threatened them more often, a stranger wouldn't have to do it to them after they dropped fireworks on him.

It would be great to know if there's any accountability for these teens. I doubt it, however. Maybe they should've just sucked it up and kept their mouths shut, after apologizing to the man.

Posted by ScottB, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 19, 2014 at 11:06 am

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Those kids sound like punks, and need to be reprimanded by their parents at a minimum. I don't blame Daniel for being angry and confronting them. He went too far when he took their money and threatened to kill them, though.

FYI, the "fireworks" they were throwing were harmless. We used to have those "snaps" when I was a kid. They make a noise like a hand-clap when they hit something, but they are tiny and cause no damage.

Posted by Gethin, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2014 at 12:50 pm

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Unfortunately he went too far by taking the money but I don't blame him at all for being angry and confronting the kids. I would have been incredible angry if I was hit [portion removed.] What are the consequences for what the kids did?

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 19, 2014 at 1:08 pm

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A friend of mine told me that some of the involved kids have been stupid enough to make comments on FB about what happened. Obviously, continued lack of parental oversight.

Posted by Grams, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Grams is a registered user.

This article made me register to comment for the first time. Are we taking the delinquent kids' story as the truth? Did they offer him the money or did he ask for it? Why was he arrested and not the kids? Oh, I know, because he wasn't the right color. Got it! If it was the other way around, who would have been arrested? Yup, the kids! Yes, I am upset!

Posted by Alphonso, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 19, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Alphonso is a registered user.

Sounds like very poor Police work - the teenagers caused the problem and should face consequences. Certainly it is a crime to throw anything at a person walking on the sidewalk five floors below. It also must be a crime to throw any sort of explosive device at another person. It is remarkable that none of the kids were punched, which would have been a reasonable reaction. If Mr. Esquivel had had the kids arrested bail would have been much higher than what they took out of their wallets. I wonder if racial profiling entered the decision process in this case?

Posted by PA_Resident, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:29 pm

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It's unbelievable how the details of the story have changed on this website over the last 24-48 hours, all in a effort to minimize the role and severity of the actions of the group of punks involved. For anyone to believe that 1 young adult could go up and threaten an entire group of kids is not only absurd, but it's borderline laughable to me. Palo Alto is known for having spoiled and privileged kids, and unfortunately this seems to be the case here as no action or disciplinary measures were taken against any of the teenagers. Finally, these charges are absolutely ridiculous and no court of law will find this man guilty of anything close to what he's being charged with. Nice try PAPD, but your racial profiling will not be tolerated....

Posted by Registereduser67, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 19, 2014 at 7:37 pm

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I see that kids dropped snappers off the roof. One hit a guy. Not clear if it actually popped. He was angry and assaulted one kid, robbed another and threatened to kill them. Sure five kids could have overcome him but they chose not to further anger him. Maybe four could have ran away and left one behind. Glad that didn't happen. There is a lot of angry posts about firecrackers, entitled kids, and racial profiling. There were no firecrackers, you don't know where the kids are from or their races. One guy suggested that the kids deserved to be punched or thrown off the fifth floor of the building. I disagree with that of course. There is reasoning why juveniles and adults are held to different standards. The adult knows better. I am sure the investigators will come to the right conclusion.

Posted by ChrisC, a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:45 pm

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Entitled kids of Palo alto. I can't imagine kids causing mayhem, then going to the police to report that the tables had turned. They assumed that they would prevail oner a Latino in Palo alto.

Posted by Registereduser67, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:36 pm

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Who says anyone is entitled? Daniel played sports at PAly according to the mom in an earlier post He looks like a big athlete that could intimidate a kid ten years younger than him. Who cares if someone says he's Latino Is that a factor. If a grown man robs you and threatens to end your life then yes. You tell the cops about a guy who is off his rocker and in downtown

Posted by Registereduser67, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 19, 2014 at 11:09 pm

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[Post removed.]

Posted by Bru, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 20, 2014 at 12:48 am

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I really sympathize with the guy who was arrested, Daniel, but, how stupid do you have to be to react the way he did? I really hate it that he robbed from the kids and threatened them ... assuming he did, who knows.

Any kid that would throw fireworks or anything off a 5 storey parking structure is a malicious and stupid juvenile delinquent that needs to be taught a lesson. Getting to call the police and have the guy that they assaulted arrested is not the lesson they should have learned. [Portion removed.]

In this case, sympathetic as I am to someone who would just be mad as hell and out of their mind, everyone in this story is at fault ... and it kind of shows what kinds of people hang out and live in Palo Alto these days.

Posted by Bru, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 20, 2014 at 12:53 am

Bru is a registered user.

Is demanding money for damages robbery? It sounds more like a agreement to apologize and compensate a victim to me? The threats he was supposed to have made were probably in reaction to the little punks acting belligerent and failing to apologize or appear contrite, and the battery could very well have been because he had already been assaulted and was fearing for his safety.

Funny how the cops sided with the kids. I have to wonder if one or more of these slime bag kids' fathers are lawyers and they know now to twist a story to make it sound like they are victims? Daniel really blew it by not calling or going to the police, and letting the situation get out of hand.

Who knows what might have happened though. I hope PAO follows this case and tells us more, this really bugs me.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2014 at 2:58 pm

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Bru - that's the thing - there's enough weirdness with the "facts" presented that people are questioning what really happened.

Posted by Malia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 23, 2014 at 2:31 pm

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Um...wait the teenagers were not cited with anything? Throwing fireworks at people??? Yes, he was wrong, but so were the boys! [Portion removed.] The should make them do community service for the rest of their summer since they have nothing better to do...just sayin

Posted by Elena Kadvany, online editor of Palo Alto Online
on Jun 30, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Elena Kadvany is a registered user.

This is Elena Kadvany, the Palo Alto Weekly's online editor. Palo Alto police Lt. Zach Perron further explained this case today and answered some questions that have been posted on this thread.

- The group of teenagers were not cited for anything. The items they were throwing off the parking garage were not fireworks as was first reported, but instead small, white noise-makers -- some brands are called "Snappers" or "Pop Pop." If they were throwing fireworks, that would violate municipal code. If anything, throwing these small noise-makers could be considered littering, which is an infraction, Perron said.

- Perron said officers likely considered malicious mischief, but that "malicious mischief in the eyes of penal code is the same as vandalism" and this was not vandalism due to the fact that there were no damages. "You could make an argument that it was battery but you'd have to show intent that they knew they were going to hit somebody," Perron said. "I'm sure that's one of the things that the officers considered and it pales in comparison to what the suspect eventually did.

- Perron said responding officers evaluated both parties' behavior, determining that though the teenagers were not completely innocent, Esquivel was on the one who escalated the situation, he said. He said in any situation it does not matter who did what first, but which party takes the situation to the next level. "(The teenagers) clearly admitted they should not have been doing what they were doing but that does not absolve them from being victims of a felony from an adult that was 10 years older than these people and who chose to behave and respond in the way that he did," Perron said.

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