Palo Alto police arrest suspect following manhunt Crimes & Incidents, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Aug 30, 2012 at 2:19 pm
Palo Alto police arrested Cameron Conley, 19, of Oakland after a nearly three-hour manhunt near downtown Palo Alto Thursday afternoon. Conley led police on a wild chase through downtown and into the Downtown North neighborhood after a traffic stop on University Avenue, crashing into six cars and attempting to carjack a truck, police said.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 30, 2012, 1:09 PM
Posted by Erin, a resident of the Leland Manor/Garland Drive neighborhood, on Aug 30, 2012 at 2:19 pm
They should be reminding people in the neighborhood to lock their doors and windows. The last person who was hopping through yards in the Garland Dr. neighborhood tried to enter one of my neighbor's homes through a back door. Luckily they had just gotten the call from the police department and locked it.
I understand their hope for getting help in locating the suspect but their first priority should be public safety.
Posted by JJ, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Aug 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm
This was crazy. I was behind the first car/van that got hit when he split the lanes by the Waverley intersection. The guy was not going to stop, I was just exiting the intersection and had enough time to swerve when he smashed his way through the van and the pickup truck. so happy no one was seriously hurt.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Aug 30, 2012 at 2:29 pm
The communication from PA police has been good on this current threat from a criminal - besides email, I got phone calls and the info is direct and useful. Thanks, PAPD. We all want a safe community. Hope this criminal is caught ASAP.
Posted by rk, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm
i was walking down waverly when this happened & the suspect was running away. there was a construction worker who had double parked his car & the suspect jumped in. i though it was an accomplice, since the car owner jumped into the passenger side door. car came to a stop at Lytton and the suspect was trying to flee - as the owner of the truck was trying to hold him. we chased him to hawthorne, when he hopped a back fence of the first house - which led to the situation as reported above.
Posted by Duh, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm
Erin this is well above what most agencies around would provide, in a much timelier manner. Common sense would dictate you lock your house up. Maybe finding this guy, therefore making the public safe, is also their first priority.
Posted by Christine Suppes, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Aug 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm
I witnessed the above situation. There were no police officers on the scene for at least ten minutes. The woman who was slammed into was obviously in shock and was being comforted by two other witnesses. The young man who hit her fled down Kipling. After about twenty seconds, two male witness standing next to me took off after him. In my forty yearas here I have never seen anything like this. Robberies, sexual assaults---even Steve Jobs' home is prey. What the H---is going on?
Posted by elle, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm
No. The suspect took (carjacked) a car and drove through the middle of University Ave. So, it was a car chase at some point. He mashed a number of cars in the process. I didn't see anyone injured, however.
Posted by Ralph, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Aug 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm
Christine Suppes...wrong...there was a police officer on foot pursuing him...there were about a dozen police cars immediatly downtown looking for this guy. You say you witnessed the whole thing, you didnt see the officer a few cars back for this guy...maybe you are confusing this with something else, this was the inceident in downtown Palo Alto.
Posted by Charles, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm
What is happening? The aristocrats of Palo Alto are being subjected to crime, and they are surprised?? Folks, leave the bubble once in a while. Life is not the same elsewhere, and it is only going to continue to get worse here as the policy failures of this state come back to haunt us all.
Posted by Bob, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 30, 2012 at 9:38 pm
@a noun ea mus -
I think we are safe to assume he did not hit several cars, attempt a carjacking and force a multi hour manhunt to avoid a cell phone ticket, so I think your instinct is right: there was something in the car, the car was stolen, he was wanted for something else, etc.
Posted by Fantastic, PAPD!, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Aug 31, 2012 at 12:31 am
Thank you, Palo Alto Police, for keeping us safe. The emails and phone calls are sure appreciated. Glad to know this was occuring and asking the public to be on the lookout is helpful in finding the suspect.
It's outrageous that someone thinks the police's duty is to tell people to lock their doors. Isn't it common sense to keep doors locked?
To Christine Suppes: "What the H---is going on?" Palo Alto is like a candy store to criminals. The police are doing their best. Our law enforcement risk their lives for us every day. You ought to respect them or suit up and join them if you think you can do better.
Posted by grizzled-oldtimer, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 7:09 am
I have read the online comments for years and I fail to understand the shock and horror that an actual crime is committed in Palo Alto. This is a town, and it is in the middle of an urban area that has crime, SJPD just searched EPA for gang members and wanted felons. So please take care, and not be lulled into false security that you are in Disneyland, and no crime or bad things ever occur here. As one commenter noted, as the economy worsens we are too close to other communities that may not enjoy such a high standard of living, and may see Palo Alto residents as easy targets.
Posted by Observer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 7:56 am
> Thank you, Palo Alto Police, for keeping us safe.
And how in the H$#@!^ did the actions of the PD keep you safe? Six people's cars are damaged, thousands of dollars of taxpayers funds have been spent, and this to keep one more cell phone user off the roads??
Suggestions that this young man did not want to be identified to the police are reasonable, but what are the facts? Weekly stores routinely have few facts, nor do they follow up on situations where the police do not release facts until some time has passed.
The six people who have now sustained thousands of dollars of damage to their vehicles are probably not feeling so safe. The need to stop this young man because of his cell phone use of co urse calls into question the value of this law, and whether it is uniformly applied by the Palo Alto police. Certainly if they had not tried to stop him, none of this world have happened.
Given the effort the police put into catching this man, it's certainly good to know that they were successful. What more information, none of us can fully determine if the police had other options other than chase this fellow through downtown Palo Alto--no doubt endangering people in their cars and walking on the sidewalks.
The police did their job, ostensibly--but its not clear how they are "keeping us safe". This incident will end up costing upwards of $100,000 to the taxpayers and insurance companies. For what?
Posted by Jason, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 8:17 am
Don't agree with you "Observer"
No, actually it is this guy that is costing the taxpayers money and costing car owners for damaging their vehicles. Maybe you should look at it as the suspect should not have run from the cops. If this guy didn't take off then this whole incident would not have happened the way it did. If you get pulled over by a cop for any reason you should not run away, bottom line!! People that run from the cops usually have a reason for doing so and it would not surprise me if anyone running from the law had a criminal record and quite possibly a weapon of some kind. I think the "keeping us safe" comment is probably referring to what this guy was capable of doing since he is obviously running scared.
Posted by Charles, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 8:46 am
I am happy of course, that the rabble in this instance was tracked down, and brought to justice by a canine. I am concerned, however, about the sheer amount of force that was used to apprehend this creature. For nearly two hours, HELICOPTERS, circled overhead, causing a massive disturbance in the downtown area that was already littered with an untold number of officers. Was this really necessary? By all accounts, police knew where the perpetrator was. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff due to factual misstatement.] Is there so little going on that we can afford to put so much time and any money into a manhunt for the rabble? This seems excessive my friends.
Posted by maditalian, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 9:15 am
To the folks that think that too much was spent on this manhunt: When an officer stops a car, he/she generally has no idea on the character of the driver. Suppose this cell phone scofflaw turned out, after further investigation, to be an armed robber, or a killer? Would you still criticize the police?
Another thing--Are the police supposed to quickly calculate how much this chase/manhunt will cost and decide not to stop because it'll be too expensive?
It appears that there are a lot of people here who really don't appreciate anything the police do.
Posted by Charles, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 9:38 am
Well friends, although it may not seem like it in Palo Alto, there is not an unlimited amount of money in the world. We have to make choices about how we spend our money. We can spend it on manhunts for the rabble, or we can spend it on educating the rabble so that these manhunts need not occur and that we can all live in a better society. I know which one I would choose. But, yes, we do not know who the suspect could have been. For all we know, he was Hitler reincarnate. Next time we better go in there not with mere helicopters, but with tanks and bazookas!
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 9:39 am
I thought news reports said the perp had stolen property in his car....? So that is why he ran. It was not insult at being reprimanded by PA police for talking on his cell phone while driving. We need a full report to get all the facts.
I disagree with Observer; I think notifying residents and making a major effort to catch this guy was warranted. Nothing like being held hostage by a perp like this as we jumps a fence into your backyard...I understand he WAS found on someone's residential property (not in an open public area of the downtown) Little kids might have been at risk from this guy as he was acting desperate.
Posted by Charles, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 9:45 am
Indeed, the suspect may have had stolen property in his car, and may have been guilty of numerous crimes against humanity. No doubt, that is why he ran. Because although perhaps not very wise to have committed such crimes, he knows that in our police state, if he were even to go to prison for the most minor offense, his life would be effectively over. For stealing a set of stereo speakers, he will be thrown in prison with some of the most violent creatures on the planet where his body and soul will no doubt be mutilated. He will receive no rehabilitation while there. Will learn no skills that will allow him to become a valued member of society when he is released. Instead, he will become hardened and no doubt more violent upon his return. All at cost to tax payers of nearly $100,000 a year. Does this make sense? Nobody can believe so.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 9:47 am
What so many posters are forgetting that not only was this guy arrested, but the fact that he was not allowed to get away with whatever he is guilty of, it is a deterrant to those with criminal intent.
So many times we hear of Palo Alto as being thought of as easy prey for villains. This time they get the message that PAPD cops are tough and won't let the villain get away.
I happen to think that this is a good thing for both reasons.
Posted by Everyone Disregard Charles - He will stop, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 9:55 am
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
His statement that Palo Alto has two helicopters, means he likely doesn't live in town and certainly has no clue about the City. Palo Alto doesn't have any helicopters and didn't call any in this case. The one lone news choppers was from ABC 7.
Yes there is a cost to tracking down violent felons but there is a much greater cost when you don't do it. Would you rather have him out in society stealing our stuff every day or in prison for the next several years where he belongs. Yes news report later indicated they found the car full of stolen property.
Posted by Observer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 10:13 am
> No, actually it is this guy that is costing the taxpayers money
> and costing car owners for damaging their vehicles
Well .. if this guy from Oakland were to end up paying for all the damage .. then perhaps you would be correct. But it’s unlikely he will ever pay for any of the damage to private property, and may well not end up paying for any of the costs for law enforcement.
The costs that this incident will generate have not even begun. He will likely be incarcerated for some period of time. He will likely demand a public defender, which will be paid for by the taxpayers. Maybe he will “plead out”, and save the taxpayers court costs, but then again, maybe not. He will likely be incarcerated for many months, and possibly years—based on what the police find out about any other illegal activities to which he might be linked.
All of this over the need to enforce a cell phone violation. Some posters have jump to various conclusions about his “guilt” in all sorts of things. Given how poorly the local media report on local crimes, it’s not likely we will ever find out why this fellow ran, or if he is a big time criminal, or just a “punk”.
Recently there was a shootout in New York City which resulted in the police injuring nine bystanders. The officers were being fired upon, so they had to return fire. But shooting into a crowd is something that is going to produce casualties. As usual, the media didn’t ask the question—who’s going to pay the medial bills that resulted from police “friendly fire”. It’s hard to believe that the NYC government will pay any of these damages unless ordered to do so by a Court.
In this case, did the police have an option to follow this fellow at a distance, and perhaps pull him over in a less crowded place? Perhaps. But it sounds like they didn’t give that option much thought.
This police action will end up costing the taxpayers, and the clients of various insurance companies. It’s very doubtful that the “perp” will end up paying for very much of the damage he caused.
Posted by Charles, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 10:15 am
Yes, maditalian, one of the first things we learn as youngsters is that our actions have consequences. I suspect the "rabble" was well aware of this. Indeed, that is probably why he fled. He was also probably aware, however, that the consequences he would face would be out of proportion to the actions that he engaged in. That is probably why he fled with such vigor and haste. Putting a human being in such circumstances, and thereby unnecessarily endangering innocent bystanders, is not the mark of a just society. I believe we are talking past each other. I am disappointed the "rabble" engaged in such action, and yes, those actions must have consequences. However, we must pause and consider why he did so and ask ourselves what we can do as a society to avoid such circumstances in the future.
Posted by A witness, a resident of Stanford, on Aug 31, 2012 at 10:57 am
Palo Alto.. be thankful "the Axe" was in your neighborhood this sunny day. The motorist/witness who gave chase to the man pictured in your article is a San Francisco resident who saw the accident and made a valiant attempt to apprehend the suspect. Wearing loafers and sporting a "32 inch waist the 37yr old former college athlete gave chase with his wallet, cell phone, and charger in hand. It seems he reacted without thinking about putting these items down and was close behind the 19yr old perp who ran out of his shoes a couple blocks away from the scene of the accident. The approximate 1/2 mile foot chase included at least one tumble as the guilty party made one sans shoe Deion Sanders like move around a corner. This was no match for the slick bottoms of "the Axe's" Cole Hahns and he tumbled to the turf. Springing up quickly, "The Axe" (nicknamed such due to his distinctive double karate type chop celebration after felling an opposing running back during his playing days)sprung to his feet and closed the some 30yard gap quickly only. Within arm's reach now he watched as the no good scoundral leapt a '10 foot fence in a single bound and disappeared in to a back yard. It was at this point that the strapping lad known only as "Axe" waited for Palo Alto's finest to arrive to point them towards the whereabouts of the now half naked criminal who was quickly apprehended. Palo Alto know that the "Axe" is in your presence weekly.. traveling south from the city by the bay to perform his mundane day time work duties. Should you need him again.. there is always a chance he will be close by!
Posted by Ralph, a resident of the Palo Alto Hills neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 10:57 am
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
And Observer...minor offenses, how does anyone know. When he's bolts out of a damaged car, running, all you can assume is that he's running for a reason...body in the trunk? kidnapped child? I dont know, and neither do you.
Posted by Midtown guy, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 11:07 am
So police dogs are trained to bite? I guess that's better than shooting at the suspect! Better even than tasers? With all the hue and cry against tasers, police dogs seem to be the better answer. Or is it questionable that a dogbite is more dangerous than a Taser shock? should we poll the would-be criminals to ask which they prefer? Either way, the word may be out to would-be criminals that we have methods to deter criminal activity.
Posted by Charles, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 11:12 am
Have the nouveau riche really turned Palo Alto into Orange County? For all of you to judge Mr. Conley so harshly, probably never having stepped foot in the streets of Oakland, never having lived a day in his shoes, it dismays me to no end. I am happy for your success. But with your success comes duty. Duties to the poor. Duties to wretched. And yes, duties to the scoundrels. If you fail in those duties, do not be surprised when our town is victimized by Mr. Conley.
Posted by ANYMOUSE101, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm
I don't' believe this to be a difficult concept, but somehow, it seems to be with a couple people posting on this forum.
I direct this to you, Charles.
If you were talking on your cell-phone, (a driver offense), and , blocking traffic, (I assume this is how the PAPD saw the cell-phhone, as driver was BLOCKING TRAFFIC on University Ave), and YOU CHARLES saw the PAPD siren, would you pull over?
I assume you would pull over.
This "Mr. Conley", did NOT pull over.
Police that are doing their job, do not just decide to drive away, maybe pondering, 'hmm, this man on his cell, while blocking traffic, he just might need some help, maybe he's a poor? Maybe he hasn't had as many opportunities as he should have, I think I'll let him on his way, who knows, maybe he was calling his mom on his cell to ask if she needed milk before making his way down University Avenue, heck, why not just show him the lovely OPPORTUNITY CENTER where he can get a free meal?"
No, that is not what a police officer does that is doing their JOB.
Next time you see a siren, or the police ask you to pull over, and you don't.
You, Charles, can expect the same diligent police work to catch this "Mr. Conley".
I cannot believe people cannot grasp that just because this is a nice city, that we as citizens should just give the guy a break -- FFS he didn't abide by the law, therefore he was a threat, and as it turned out more of a threat , as he hit all the cars and ..oh just read the article Charles.
Posted by Marco, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm
What kind of intolerable act this young man was trying to get away with to justify this reaction? PADP does not make us more safe when they behave like this. They are the ones who put everybody at risk with their aggressive and violent reactions ignoring the safety of other citizens who are around. I see a lot of people on the phone while driving. It seems a well tolerated violation in town and not a crime that justifies a manhunt like this. I personally would like PADP to receive different guidelines and better training not to escalate in such situations, and not to spread panic in the population for minor traffic violations. Unless some incident like this every once in a while helps to justify their overblown salaries and overstaffed department. From most of the comments, it looks like is working unfortunately.
Posted by Marco is wrong, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm
The suspect fled over stolen property and the traffic offenses. The police manhunt was the product of him hiding on someone's property after he carjacked an innocent persons car not the traffic offense.
you leave out the reality to push your cause and hatred and show your ognorance.
Posted by Charles, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Now, let me put this in the simplest terms possible. I do not condone Mr. Conley's behavior. I do not believe anybody here does. That, however, Anymouse101, is not the point. The point that is being raised is how to stop such conduct from occurring the future. Clearly, Mr. Conley believe, and unfortunately, rationally so, the consequences that he would suffer for his purported cell phone violation were too severe. As such, he believed he had no choice but to flea with vigor and haste. In response, our city spent untold dollars to track him down. This is an unacceptable use of our resources. The only result will be that Mr. Conely goes to prison, where he will likely become an even more hardened criminal, who when he is released from prison in probably about 18 months, may no doubt prey on our city again. What has this accomplished? We have wasted taxpayer dollars to make the world a worse place. This makes no sense. I would like to see those dollars used to rehabilitate the likes of Mr. Conley and ensure that people are not in his position to begin with. It seems that you believe, however, this should not be a concern. But until you address the root of the problem, a problem that you clearly care about with concern, the problem will remain.
I am a pragmatist. I take no sides. I neither side with the rabble nor the aristocrats. But I want solutions; not vehemence; not hate. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Palo Alto is not a separate country. It is a city, that is in a state, that is in a country. Our fortunes were not made by the citizens of this city. They were made by the citizens of the world. To say that we should not share, because of some geographical bounds, it neither based it reason nor logic. Rather, it is based in a type of disgust that I cannot sanction. If we choose to look down upon our neighbors because they have not been as fortunate as us, we cannot be surprised when they engage in conduct we do not like.
Posted by incredulous, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 12:59 pm
Hey Charles and Marco, this guy fled and in doing so endangered innocent people. The warning system worked very well;emails and phone calls. I went home to make sure my mother did not go outside into the yard as she often does. We're one block from the search area. What if this guy comes in and threatens and/or assaults her. It wouldn't take much to possibly kill an elderly person. We locked down and waited until the all clear.
Posted by Christine Suppes, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm
Yesterday I witnessed a young man slam into a vehicle being driven by a woman on University Avenue near Kipling. Although the police were not immediately at this location, they were and had been pursuing Mr. Conley during the busy lunch hour. The police response was quick, considering the heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and we can feel confident in our Police Department. As for the remarks about "rabble and aristocrats" I would like to add the following view: Mr. Conley will hopefully face a jury, consisting of a diverse local population. I have had the honor of observing several jury trials in San Francisco where cases were far more violent than yesterday's in Palo Alto. San Francisco juries do not tolerate crime, and the same goes for Palo Alto. Palo Alto is not a bubble, it is zero-tolerance on crime, in fact, it is SMART on crime.
Posted by marcoisnuts, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm
The manhunt is not for the minor traffic violation. It if for the carjack, striking numerous cars to flee, etc. The difference is most people stop, which probably would have resulted in a scolding. Call it a waste of police resources to track someone down who obviously has no regard for anyone else's safety? Rational people do that Charles, stop for the police. People who have committed other offenses flee, you just don't know what until later. I will laugh at you when this will probably come out sometime later as a footnote, but I'm sure we won't see you comment on that one. I am glad the police take the time to catch them. Some cities don't, and they are most certainly not safer for it, especially hoping society will forgive them and nurture them and the magic universe will aid the less fortunate.
This forum just changed my vote from democrat to republican.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Sep 1, 2012 at 8:03 am
Great response by our police department. They dealt with an incredibly chaotic and dangerous situation, and took the perpetrator into custody without anyone suffering at least any major injuries. The notification system worked and allowed people to take greater security precautions. Terrific job all the way around!
And to the men and women that make up our police department, never be incapable of accepting constructive criticism, but please ignore the ignorant and snide remarks from these critics with their keyboard courage. They represent a small percentage with nothing more than an axe to grind. The vast majority of those you serve respect and value what you do.
Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Sep 1, 2012 at 7:32 pm
- 2 PAPD officers on foot in downtown PA.
- 1 driver is on the road, talking a cell phone, a moving violation.
- Same driver also blocks the intersection, creating gridlock. Another moving violation.
- Police officers decide to give the driver a citation.
- Driver panics and takes off in his car, driving down the middle of University Avenue, in between the two lanes of traffic, causing damage to approximately 6 cars.
- Police now need to chase the driver who is obviously causing property damage and endangering the general public with his vehicle.
- Driver then jumps out of car, running, decides to attempt to carjack a commercial truck.
- Driver tells commercial truck operator that he has a gun.
- Truck operator attempts to stop driver, who gets away again.
At this point we have individual who refused to stop for a traffic enforcement stop, damaged 6 other vehicles while fleeing the police (who are on foot), endangers innocents along University Avenue with his driving and crashing, then he attempts a carjacking, claims to have a gun (no way to prove true or false), then runs through backyards (trespassing) and hides under someone's house - a house that has 2 small children inside.
Yes, I can see why this is all the fault of PAPD. Because they are the ones that damaged all the cars, threatened another person with a supposed gun, try to steal a truck and then hide under someone's home with small children inside. Shame on the PAPD.
Yes - awful human beings...for just trying to give a guy a ticket for messing up downtown traffic!!!
And lost on some of you --- they sent the dog under the house, the dog held its position. PAPD told the guy to come out or they would have the dog come after him. He refused. The PAPD followed through. No shots were fired. No tasers. And BTW, for all the PAPD knew, this guy had a gun because he threatened another victim with a gun...and yet people have the gall to criticize the PAPD for their measured actions.
But it is all the fault of PAPD.
And apparently the news helicopters are the fault of PAPD too.