Palo Alto police arrested a Mountain View man Sunday night after he yelled racial epithets and threatened a man in a downtown parking lot.
Police said the incident happened at around 11:45 p.m. on April 19 in a parking lot on 539 Emerson St. The victim, a black man in his 30s, called police from a business in the 500 block of Ramona Street reporting a possible carjacking attempt. Police officers who responded to the scene located Tony Smith, 61, standing outside of the business holding a small knife with a two-inch blade. Officers took Smith into custody without incident.
Investigators said the victim was sitting in his parked car with the engine running when Smith opened the front passenger side door, said he had a gun and threatened to kill the driver. The victim did not see a gun but got out of his car. As the man backed away, Smith said a racial epithet and repeated his threat, police said.
The victim went inside a nearby business to call police because he had left his cellphone in his car, which was still running. Investigators said Smith followed the man and was looking for him when police arrived. There was no indication that Smith attempted to take the man's car.
Police found methamphetamine but no gun in Smith's belongings. Smith was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for felony criminal threats and felony hate crime, as well as misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine.
Anyone with information pertaining to this incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.