Town Square

Man shot in downtown Palo Alto street robbery

Original post made on Jul 13, 2008

A man who was robbed and shot early this morning while waiting for some friends next to City Hall in downtown Palo Alto is in critical condition at Stanford University Hospital, according to police.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, July 13, 2008, 8:52 AM


Posted by Carlos, a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 13, 2008 at 10:22 am

This incident, together w/ the earlier ones about the two women being robbed at knife point, suggest to me that the current crime situation is much worse than anything we have seen in the recent past (maybe ever) in this town. Different measures should be taken at this point since the old approaches might not work anymore. New deterrents such as a wider/more visible police presence, undercover agents, police-monitored vide cameras are widely needed to address this problem.

Just like most of us in this community aren't immune to an economic slowdown, we aren't immune either to the crime situations that result from tougher financial times.

I certainly hope I'm just stating the obvious. However, given the worsening situation, I sometimes wonder if anything is being done about it.

Posted by gerald, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 13, 2008 at 11:48 am

The best way to reduce crime is to have sufficient police patrolling of city streets 24/7. One of the consequences of smaller government, or rather, the dismantling of the government by the GOP with the exception of trillions borrowed from the Chinese for the benefit of war profiteering and tax breaks for the wealthy, is the diminishing of the basic services that make life bearable, such as police protection and infrastructure rebuilding and maintenance. The uber-class toward which the tax breaks are targeted may be able to afford private security guard and large walls around their estates, but the vast majority of the public depends on the police for protection from criminals.

Posted by More police, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 13, 2008 at 11:49 am

Video cameras are certainly in order, as well as more frequent and strategic police presence. More police on bicycle patrol, and citizen awareness and education programs should also be instigated. These incidents are also making the regional press, and will result in fewer visitors downtown, and that will hurt our tax base.

Posted by Val, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2008 at 12:09 pm

"These incidents are also making the regional press, and will result in fewer visitors downtown, and that will hurt our tax base."

Who cares about the tax base. WE can always pass another bond if money gets tight.

And while violent crime may be increasing as the council pays attention to other, more important matters, at least we have an up-to-date Climate Change policy!

Posted by KT, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2008 at 12:25 pm

HOLY MOLEY.....I was just there last night....this is so scary. I really hope that the victim pulls through.

Posted by Carl, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 13, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Eleven years ago, Herbert Kay was slaughtered, near the police station [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] They should have been charged with a hate crime, but PA prosecutors would not touch it.

Downtown has never been the same since. Innocence lost. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

In order to save Downtown, we should do the following:

1. Take away the $1M we give to PACT each year, and use that money to:

a. hire two young minority underdover cops to walk the Downtown in the evenings.

b. hire two more patrol cops in cruisers to patrol Downtown, both day and night.

2. Run the bums in the Downtown. They bring the place down, and invite more criminals.

3. Demand that our City Council take a stance supporting a liveable Downtown. I mean liveable for young families, not just for bars and business and bums. The question they need to ask themselves is: Would I feel safe raising my family Downtown?

Posted by Think Again, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Carl: The Police Department are doing all they can to recruit new young Police Officers. Unfortunately, so are every City on the Peninsula. Suitable applicants to fill the vacancies we have in our Police Department are very difficult to find.

Posted by Back to Basics, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 13, 2008 at 1:07 pm

This story and other developments around town (anyone else notice our crumbling streets and sidewalks?) makes it clear the big issues in the next local election will be the back to basics issues, police, streets, potholes, sidewalks, public safety. All the things that are being neglected by our current "who can be greener" city council.

We are all for saving our environment. Now, can we find some city council members willing and able to save our city from thugs and decay?

Posted by Bman, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 13, 2008 at 1:31 pm

a. hire two young minority undercover cops to walk the Downtown in the evenings.

so Carl you want to white cops walking around . because unless you have been living under a rock , whites are the minority

Posted by Robert Smith, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 13, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Serious crimes continue to occur while the PA police make the Children's Theater the centerpiece of their efforts to protect this community.

Where is any sense of what is important in law enforcement?

Posted by Strawman, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 13, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Robert Smith, a crime is a crime and should be investigated. It's not like the cops patrolling the streets were taken away from their jobs because of the Children's Theater. Get a grip.

Posted by teen, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 13, 2008 at 2:05 pm

Maybe Palo Alto police should focus more on the increasing violence around here than battling teen drinking.

Posted by Millbrae Resident, a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2008 at 2:38 pm

The Thugs are taking OVER our streets. As a law abiding citizen we are becoming afraid to go out of our homes, even areas that are considered as safe areas: San Carlos, Burlingame and Palo Alto. Our Federal Gov't needs to issue more $ to our local agencies.

STOP the War in Iraq!

Posted by Lee, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2008 at 3:26 pm

You just have to see downtown on a weekend many troublemakers from other cities come to get drunk here. They have to be stopped.

Posted by citezen, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 13, 2008 at 3:55 pm

I think they shouldn't close all the bars at around 2, it just adds so much crime at that time of night. They should keep the bars open all night, but stop serving alcohol at a curtain time so all the people aren't just kicked out onto the streets to get into accidents and possibly commit crimes like this one.

I also want to say I was very impressed with the explorers that were watching the scene, they give me hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Posted by Maria, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2008 at 4:45 pm

What explorers?

Posted by Mary, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 13, 2008 at 6:22 pm

I live about 50 feet from where the crime happened and I feel scared now as I walk home at night but try to not be out after 11PM. I thought living downtown was convenient but now it feels unprotected. Why pay the high prices? I am a resident of this neighborhood where it happened and I don't think enough is being done to prevent crime here. It happened right next to the police station for heavens sake.

Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 13, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Keep the Children's Theater out of this discussion!! There are plenty of other places to reduce spending- like so-called "Public Art". But that's not the issue either. The issue here is 'crime' and the people who are committing the crimes. There is a budget for more police. EVERY city is looking for more police men and women - big demand, short supply. Yes, something has to be done about the crime in downtown and other places particularly north of Oregon Avenue. And police, STOP WORRYING ABOUT RACIAL PROFILING. Get real.
Former Mayor Judy Kleinberg made public safety, disaster preparedness, and the growing crime problem her top priority. Now the priority is "going green" First things first, Mr. Mayor.

Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2008 at 8:00 pm

We've been hearing for some time about how the city supposedly cannot find enough police officer candidates to fill open positions. If supply is short, the city needs to offer more money to recruit the necessary applicants. If sustaining higher salaries over the long term is a concern, we should offer salaries competitive with other communities, with significantly higher signing bonuses, and require new officers to sign on for a minimum period of service (or refund the bonus). Companies do this sort of thing all the time--it's called free market economics.
The money should come from one of the many "extra" programs we offer (not schools, but programs like Childrens' Theater). I like living in a city with lots of extras, but it is more important to me not to be shot, robbed, or stabbed.

Posted by SoSad, a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Unfortunatly, the victim passed away early this morning.

Posted by JF, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 13, 2008 at 8:50 pm

At this very moment there is a thread where people have mentioned that Police & Fire are paid too much and their jobs are not that dangerous. I absolutely DISAGREE with that statement. I hope whomever thought to write that will read this thread.
Web Link

Posted by JF, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 13, 2008 at 8:55 pm

I am so sorry to hear about this poor unsuspecting victim. This makes me very sad. Having grown up in Palo Alto I am irritated that I now have a quicker pace and some fear when walking to my car after dinner downtown or a night out. I used to even walk home on occasion...but that was the 90s. Ironic. It was safer then, even while our neighboring city had the highest murder rate per capita. Go figure.

Posted by package, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 13, 2008 at 9:20 pm

I'm concerned that there hasn't been ENOUGH coverage of the crime happening in our town (random shootings, assaults and home burglaries). My perception is that our police would rather not draw too much attention to these crimes than address the problem of trouble makers coming from other cities.

On July 3, there were 2 late night shooting incidents (one a 20 year old Stanford student) on El Camino (supposedly related) that were not covered in our local papers. By not making headlines of these incidents, we are inviting more crime. I'm sure downtown businesses would be more interested in sending a zero- tolerance message than losing business from out-of-town "visitors."

I'm truly sad that last nights' incident ended in tragedy. This could have been any one of our friends/sons/nephews/... Let's shine a BRIGHT LIGHT on these incidents and hopefully send a message that were "mad as hell and won't take it anymore."

Posted by Don Kazak, Palo Alto Weekly columnist
on Jul 13, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Don Kazak is a registered user.


The last time the police checked, the shooting victim was still alive.

Posted by Nervous resident, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 13, 2008 at 10:02 pm

Increased police presence is not a long-term solution because it does not address the cause. The real problem will continue to fester and cause more crime.

The underlying issue in my observation is that a large percentage of boys and young men in certain communities near here are growing up belligerent with a tendency to violence.

Why? What is the child-raising culture in some communities that creates so many crime-prone youth? If we don't investigate this *honestly,* we are a pack of self-deluding fools.

I suspect that PC platitudes will prevail and our society will continue to deteriorate.

Posted by package, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 13, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Thanks for following up. Let's hope for the best.

Posted by package, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 13, 2008 at 10:14 pm

Dear Nervous,

Pointing fingers and trying to figure out the "bigger" problem does nothing to address the immediate situation. I've always been a firm believer in being part of the solution if I'm going to voice concern about something. It basically comes down to us as a community making this a priority and coming up with some answers without placing blame at every turn.

Posted by dave, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 13, 2008 at 11:54 pm

Maria, a class of 9 or 10 young men and women just graduated from the police explorer program. I would encourage any teen (16 or older I believe) to investigate this program including talking to some of those who participated in it.

Elizabeth, every suggestion you made to encourage applications to the police dept. has now been initiated. Good thinking on your part.

Package, the media, not the police, determine what stories to report. Contact the Weekly, News and Post and tell them to put more emphasis on crime stories.

Thank you Strawman for a cogent comment concerning the allocation of police resources. The number of officers patrolling each shift has not been reduced.

Posted by JF, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 14, 2008 at 9:50 am

Did the victim pass away? I saw on another thread some R.I.Ps to a man named Phil.

Hopefully we will get more details to the story. I would really like to know if this was a random act or not.

Posted by Jim, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 14, 2008 at 11:05 am

We just moved into a condo within a block or two of the shooting with our two high/middle school age children. My comments are the same as I said to them... Crime happens everywhere, it is extremely scarey when it is a random act of violence, and now we will see what makes Palo Alto such an excellent community and so desirable. This will be partially displayed by the response of the police department and city officials. I have confidence the the police will work night and day to find the suspect. I hope the police will suggest and implement new actions to increase safety downtown. City council should fund the additional expenditures of these new measures, whether they are increased patrols, mounted police, or video surveillance.

Posted by Package, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 14, 2008 at 11:26 am

HI Dave,

The local papers are next on my list. It appears as if a "stick your head in the sand" mentality is prevailing. How are we supposed to rally the troops if no one knows what's going on?

Posted by positive, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 15, 2008 at 12:55 pm

al this feel god post ae kept.why no feel good posts about protecting rights of unwanted?

Posted by witnesse, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 15, 2008 at 12:57 pm

i witnessed an attempted gang murder perpetrated by white youths.the cops did nothing to pursue the gang,because the person beaten wasnt white!!

Posted by G, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 15, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Let's come to grips with the reality of the situation. A major source of the problems here is the fact that many of the likely perpetrators live across highway 101 in the community adjoining Palo Alto. Our community at night has become an all-you-can-eat buffet for carnivorous prowlers. I am not seeing that their community is even coming close to meeting their responsibilities in policing their own citizens? Two key steps: 1) increase the visibility and vigilence of our Palo Alto police and 2) adjoining eastward community needs to majorly step up the plate (NYC Mayor Ed Koch was able to do it).

Posted by nik, a resident of Woodside
on Jul 15, 2008 at 4:59 pm

phil was a good guy. he is going to be missed by his friends and family...

Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2008 at 5:42 pm

If the headline were Mountain Lion shot, there would be a lot more comments.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2008 at 5:48 pm

CPA is not on the first pick list for any cops or firefighters.

Like most of are women paramedics. They left and went to other departments. The women have more balls than the men. We stay.

Posted by Robert, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 15, 2008 at 6:07 pm


Have your mother proof read your comments before you post.

Posted by what the..., a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 15, 2008 at 6:47 pm


please take your medication! every comment you have made so far in all of the topics related to this event does not make any sense at all. you have made reference to the children's theater investigation, the police and firefighters, and now women having more balls than men. too bad they dont have an idiot meter on this forum because your definitely way off the charts.

Posted by Mom, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 15, 2008 at 10:11 pm

Re fireman, there are many posters who continually comment on this forum. Some are sane, some are not. Some choose to provoke since it is an anonymous forum. Fireman has been around and those who know his postings do not respond. Use your time on other people.

Posted by friendofphil, a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2008 at 12:01 am

I am a friend of the victim, Phil Lacy. His untimely death is a testament to the truth that no place is intirely safe from crime. No matter where you live, there are "bad" people out there. People that are so unhappy with their own lives, that they feel they need to take the lives of others. I hope Phil's passing will not be in vain. I would like to see justice served, but I also know the harsh reality of today's youth. The gunman is probably getting his "props" from his home boys who will remain silent.

Posted by bruce k, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 16, 2008 at 6:37 pm

i am glad so many people are posting here and seem to be as concerned as i about what is going on in palo alto.

i have to say that i think more police or 7x24 patrols might help, but this was right near and area where there are many police, cars, and often people, even this late at night. there will always be areas of times where criminals can exist and can sneek out and attack people. at least a video camera can record it in order to identify the assailant.

i think video cameras to record will definitely lead to detection and identification of suspects, and that will lead to arrest and conviction. that will have a deterent effect, and at least be able to identify who is perpetrating these violent crimes.

there are many people who are menacing and violent and nothing being done systematically to help the country except to allow individuals who can afford it to protect and arm themselves. i have seen the schools, the parks, the sevices in palo alto all do down since I moved here as a kid in 1970, and I wonder why when i know this is such a very wealthy community?