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PA police ask suspected killer to turn himself in

Original post made on Aug 1, 2008

Palo Alto police are asking Otto Koloto, suspected of shooting and killing Philip Lacy outside of City Hall July 13, to turn himself in so they can "learn his perspective and try to resolve the situation," Detective Brian Philip said this morning.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 1, 2008, 10:50 AM

Comments (23)

Posted by Schillachi, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 1, 2008 at 12:48 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by BeetleNut, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 1, 2008 at 2:24 pm


To Schillachi: Where, of all things, did you get the idea that bar hopping was a "lifestyle habit" of Philip Lacy? I have followed this story closely in the Weekly and other newspapers and there has never been a mention of such a "lifestyle". Shame on you for slandering the good name of Philip Lacy.


Posted by Splitsville, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Aug 1, 2008 at 2:33 pm


Are the Palo Alto Police really that naive? They expect a murder suspect to voluntarily turn himself in...."so they can learn his perspective". Yeah, sure that's all the police want..."all we want to know is your perspective, then we'll let you go". Doesn't exactly sound lke CSI type sleuthing.


Posted by pd, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 1, 2008 at 2:33 pm



turn himself in so they can "learn his perspective and try to resolve the situation,"

That is very lame approach and has no chance of any results.

There are only 20,000 Tongans in California, 3/4 in San Mateo county and the rest mainly in LA.

Clearly he is hiding in the Tongan community and somebody knows where he is. Why are they not turning him in? is it gang intimidation or a culture of not "snitching"?

How can we get communities to share information with the police about murderous gang members? it is a very serious problem in Oakland and EPA. Where are the community and church leaders on this issue?


Posted by SpaceJam, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 1, 2008 at 2:49 pm


Here's a cost saving idea for the city of Palo Alto: Let go all Palo Alto police detectives. There would be no need for them in the future. All Palo Alto crime investigations would be handled by placing a notice in the newspaper requesting that suspects turn themselves in so police could "learn their perspective".


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2008 at 3:27 pm

I am so disgusted with this whole thread of comments, and so many of the comments in regards to Philip Lacy. Those who knew him come here with hope and for information. We come here in hope that his killer has been found, we come here hoping that this will be the time we check this site and see the news we want so desperately to see.

"Jim", "Hunter","Donadoni" and "Schillachi" you need to face reality. Bad things can happen any where and every where to any one. There is no place that is completely safe from violence any more. You need to realize your attempts to rationalize this murder by suggesting Philip had poor character, made poor lifestyle choices and all the other judgements you have bestowed on the deceased are just a coping mechanism for you, at the expense of those who knew and loved Philip. Face it, you are trying to say he was some how deserving of what happened, so it wasn't random, so you can go on believing you are safe. Any denials of such will fall flat, as it is quite obvious that this is what you are doing. You are trying to believe you are safe, and what you need to realize is that no one is completely safe.

Perhaps you should try to live beyond your computer keyboard and in the real world.

The comments I have read include assuptions about Philip because of his "nearly shaved" head ... assumptions that he was some kind of gangster wannabe...wow... tell that to all the 20-something 30-something balding guys out there that have receding hairlines and shave their heads to make us think they have hair. Watch out those guys might be asking for trouble.

You've made assumptions that he had a certain lifestyle because he was leaving a bar late at night with friends. How naive are you? How many people do you know have met their spouses at a bar? Do you think all the good people go home before the sun goes down? Perhaps you should swing by a few of your local drinking establishments late one night and see who you find there. College students, people out celebrating an event in their life, your neighbors, your kids. But watch out anyone in a bar late at night may be trouble.

At this point I think it's funny that no one will tell you what Philip did "to make a living". Do you think maybe we're not responding because you're so hateful and you don't deserve to know? Do you think by baiting us we'll tell? We're a loyal(ty) lot and at this point I think we're keeping you wondering just to bait you. The more you wonder the longer this stays on your mind and in the news and the better the odds to catch the killer. And you don't deserve to know one more thing about Philip than you already do. Do you really care what he did? No, it's just more of your defense mechanism kicking in.

I have a suggestion. Instead of sitting around trying to feel safe by subjecting others to your pseudo-caring comments, and your ridiculous ponderings, why don't you go out and make PA and the surrounding areas safe again. Start a neighborhood watch, start a citizens patrol, sponsor a troubled youth so they don't make wrong choices like Mr.Huhane/Koloto. (And no I am not making assumptions that he was a troubled youth) Get out there and volunteer your time to an organization that fights violence. Do it because next time it could be someone you love that is getting bashed by people like you, trying to make themselves feel safe.


Posted by Disgusted Too, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 1, 2008 at 4:06 pm

I agree with Disgusted completely. That type of post was long overdue. I have been overwhelmed by the level of ignorance, racism, elitism, etc. that has been expressed on the various threads related to this story. I am ashamed of all of you that have attacked the character of Philip without knowing a thing about him besides what you have read in the local news rags. Philip was a human being -- a brother, an uncle, and a friend to many people. Philip's sister was one of my best friends from kindergarten through high school. I knew Philip as a kid, but unfortunately, I will never have the opportunity to find out what kind of man he grew into. I am in no position to pass judgement on him. I will repsect his memory and share my love with those who have been devastated by his loss.


Posted by Disgusted Three, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 1, 2008 at 4:21 pm

I agree with the two last comments.

I did not know Philip, but I have no doubts that this shooting was anything but the horrific story it appears to be. I agree that it would be nice to be able to say that the victim of any crime was not as innocent as it would appear, but this is not one of those cases. It would be nice to be able to go downtown and think that it was safe because only those of suspect circumstances get what is coming for them. This is not the case. I would love to be able to find an excuse for this, but there isn't one.

A young man doing what many of us did at his age was returning from a bar with friends to his car and met a lowlife who robbed then killed him. End of story.

If this had happened in broad daylight after he had been having brunch on a Sunday morning, the horror would be identical.

My sympathies to the family and friends, and anyone who can't do that ought to be ashamed of themselves.


Posted by About Mr. Lacy, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 1, 2008 at 4:36 pm

He didn't ask for his murder by what he was wearing. Trying to say he was murdered after frequenting a bar is like blaming a woman who gets raped, by the way she walks or what she wears.

None of us is immune from violence, be it while we're home reading, while we're driving or even gasp! when we live in Palo Alto.

People in PA live in a bubble & feel entitled to it, so they justify & blame in order to keep their existence as ordered & controlled as possible. It's not only elitist, ridiculous & stupid, it's also dangerous.

Adding insult to the memory of Mr. Lacy is pathetic, arrogant, insensitive & mean-spirited.


Posted by Schillachi, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 1, 2008 at 4:43 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by And Again About Mr. Lacy, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 1, 2008 at 4:43 pm

...and all other INNOCENT victims of recent violence. Many people make off the cuff comments to others, or gestures, or do some little thing that a thug misinterprets. It's common for young men to posture & comment to each other. I'm not saying that's what happened, but if it did, the victim isn't to blame. Look at what happened to Mr. Bologna & his sons - because they were Italian, they were mistaken as rival gang members. I'm white, but had brown hair & brown eyes. People mistake my ethnic background all the time, often based on what area I'm in.

Palo Alto has always had violent incidents, just like any other city its size. It's between 2 freeways, has a college adjacent, there's wealth, lack of wealth, businesses - everything that predators look for. So does Mt. View & Sunnyvale. For Mr. Lacy, even being w/other young men at night wasn't enough to keep him safe. It's more than tragic, & it's changed so many lives. The domino effect will continue to be felt for many, many years.


Posted by pd, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 1, 2008 at 4:55 pm



Actually the local crime statistics are very predictable by location see the statistical breakdown by location here Web Link


and beware


Posted by Schillachi, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 1, 2008 at 5:11 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Waiting for Results, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Here's an idea increase the reward from $10,000 to $100,000 that might sake him loose.


Posted by college student, a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2008 at 7:59 pm

It is COMPLETELY normal for someone like Phil to be at a bar late at night...this should not even be discussed.

I am in college and EVERYONE in college goes bar hopping (those over 21 of course). All young people go to bars. In fact, if you are young and you don't at least occasionally go to bars and stay out until they close then you are a minority and probably someone that is not very social or does not spend time with people your age.

Of course old people may think its odd behavior to go bar hopping, but that is because they are old. This is what young people do, and even some older people. It's reality. I go to bars and see everyone I know there - from super smart university students to employees of companies like Google, etc.

This is just a senseless crime. I believe that nothing was done by Phil to provoke this at all. I dont think its possible for anyone to do anything that would get them shot anyways. It's ridiculous. Shame on people that would comment about his behavior or attire that night.


Posted by Jim, a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2008 at 8:39 pm

I may be the "Jim" refered to in the post by "disgusted". I made a comment in some other thread about how it occurred to me that maybe the victim's appearance (close-cropped hair) caused the perp to see him as a rival. I was careful to not blame anything on the victim. I was just trying to be informative, to give others out there a bit of a warning if they choose to dress in a certain manner. Bad things can happen just because of your appearance. There is a notorious case in San Francisco in which a father and two of his sons were shot to death in what was first believed to be a road rage case. The perp is allegedly a member of the MS-13 gang. The SF cops now think it was a case of mistaken identity - the sons looked like gang members to the perp. "...On Monday, Stasko" (head of the police homocide unit) "told reporters the Bolognas were attacked because the killer mistook the victims for gang members. The Bologna boys, he said, had short hair and were wearing baseball caps sideways." (SF Chronicle, 7/28/08). That's exactly what I was talking about. So there. (Nya nya nya).

Anyway, stand back, because now I've come up with another idea. Theoretically, Koloto could call the police with information on where to find himself, and qualify for the reward. They never said "Except for the perpetrator" when they offered the reward.


Posted by Jim, a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2008 at 8:47 pm

I just read my last comment. "homocide" should be spelled "homicide".
Sorry to offend anyone, that was a typo.


Posted by Mom of 3, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Aug 1, 2008 at 11:13 pm

Perhaps the police want him to let his guard down by thinking they have given up.

Sure, he could call himself in for the reward, but how great is $10,000 when you have life in prison?


Posted by Waiting for Results, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2008 at 12:55 am

He's probably long gone from this area by now. Look for him in LA or NY, and up the reward to $100,000!!!!


Posted by Phil's sis, a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2008 at 12:20 pm

I would please just like to ask that people be respectful of my brother.Our family does read these looking for comfort and encouraging words from Phil's friends. Philip is the victim here. Nothing he wore or did or didn't do led to his murder. The only person that should be bashed here is that low life coward who pulled the trigger. we will find him. I won't rest till he is brought to justice for the senseless death of my brother. i can't wait till he's rotting in prison waiting for the next person to assult him. knowing for the rest of his pathetic life that Phil will have the last laugh on judgement day. I might not have been able to protect him life but I will get justice for my little brother. Love you Philip.


Posted by BeetleNut, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2008 at 8:22 pm


To Disgusted, Phil's Sis, and friends of Phillip Lacy: My deepest sympathy for your tragic loss. And I'm sorry that there are posters here that have left twisted comments.

For some perverse reason there are posters out their that get their kicks out of writing hurtful things. I'm not a phycologist, but I'm willling to bet that they have deep feelings of inadequacy.

By one of the poster's definition I qualify as an "old person"...but I still completely understand Phil & his friends spending a Saturday night bar hopping. We did the very same same thing when we were single and in our 20s.


Posted by jim, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Aug 2, 2008 at 9:50 pm

I guess all you posters have figured it all out. Always two sides to every story, even though the suspect's may be wrong. Let him come him and tell his side of the story, then put it on paper, send it to the DA and send him away for life or sentence him to death. Some of you obviously no know nothing about interviewing skills or the pyschological play on the criminal mind.


Posted by C me around, a resident of Ventura
on Aug 4, 2008 at 9:42 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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