Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 24, 2012

News Digest

Palo Alto police seek shooter of random gunfire

For the second time in a week someone has fired off a gun in Palo Alto's residential neighborhoods, and police want to find the culprit.

Officers first responded to four calls reporting multiple gunshots on Thursday, Feb. 16, at about 3:45 a.m. at the corner of Loma Verde Avenue and Maddux Drive in the Midtown neighborhood, according to police. They did not find anyone, and the bullets apparently didn't strike any property or people. A resident found several bullet casings near the intersection the next morning, however, and notified police.

Palo Alto police Agent Marianna Villaescusa said a second incident occurred on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 5:15 a.m. Police received numerous calls about shots being fired in the 4200 block of Los Palos Avenue near Arastradero Road, across the street from Juana Briones Park. Officers arrived in less than one minute after receiving the calls and found several bullet casings at the scene, she said.

Police are comparing shell casings from the two incidents to see if they are connected, she said.

"We don't know why (the gunmen) are doing it — if they are trying to intimidate someone," Villaescusa said.

Prowler mistakes roof for a train

A man who was arrested for prowling on Sunday, Feb. 19, told Palo Alto police he did not know how he had gotten on a resident's roof and thought he was taking the train home.

A woman on Alexis Drive in the Palo Alto Hills neighborhood called police at 6:14 a.m. to report hearing a prowler on her roof, police Agent Marianna Villaescusa said. Officers arrived to find 23-year-old Wai Wong of Stanford on the roof. He was allegedly inebriated, Villaescusa said.

Wong did not know the resident. Police described him as extremely intoxicated and said Wong thought he was taking the train to the Stanford University campus. He could not recall how he got on the roof or any of the events leading up to the incident.

He was booked into the Main Jail in San Jose on a charge of prowling, she said.

East Palo Alto police chief appointed interim city manager

In a rapid decision following the recent resignation of its former city manager, East Palo Alto's police Chief Ronald Davis was appointed interim city manager by the East Palo Alto City Council Tuesday.

Davis has been the city's police chief for seven years and has done much to reduce violent crime in the city.

ML Gordon, the former city manager who guided East Palo Alto through a tough economic deficit, announced his retirement on Jan. 30. He was expected to officially leave his post on March 2 or 3.

Gordon, who was city manager beginning in 2010 and was previously interim manager, is taking a job as general manager of Mountain House, near Tracy, Calif. He was unanimously selected and will begin his job there on March 12, according to the Mountain House Press.

Davis could not be immediately reached for comment on the interim position as city manager or whether he will apply for the permanent job.

Since taking over as police chief he has significantly cut most forms of crime, including violent crimes, and has instituted a series of proactive programs to address the root causes of violent crime and gang activity.

In 2010 Davis applied for police chief positions in Seattle, Wash., and New Orleans, La., but narrowly missed being selected in final rounds.

How Davis's new appointment will affect the police chief's position has not yet been announced.

— Sue Dremann

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