The man who was fatally shot by Palo Alto police officers outside a Forest Avenue group home on Friday, Dec. 25, was identified Monday by the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office as William David Raff.
Raff, 31, was shot just outside a home for residents with mental-health issues. The home is operated by La Selva, a program of Momentum For Mental Health.
Police said Raff was shot moments after he began charging at the officers with a knife. Raff was then taken to a hospital, where he later died, according to a press release the police department issued early on Saturday morning.
The shooting happened less than 10 minutes after Raff reportedly called police to report a disturbance at the home on the 600 block of Forest Avenue. Police said the caller reported a person -- whose name was provided -- at the home wanted to harm someone, the caller said.
Police said the call was a false emergency that was intended to bring officers to the scene. When officers arrived a few minutes later, Raff immediately charged at them while armed with a knife and while in the street, police said. Two officers fired their pistols at him at 9:23 p.m., police said.
The investigation indicated that he may have been waiting outside for the police. Police also said that there was no one at the house with the name that was given during the 911 call.
A neighbor said she heard about three to four gunshots Friday night but decided to dismiss them as fireworks or pre-New Year's celebrations.
No officers were injured at the scene. Raff was transported to a local hospital for treatment but died from the injuries.
Police said the two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure for investigations of officer-involved shootings. The officers' names will be released in the next few days, according to police.
Police sealed off Forest Avenue from Webster Street to Middlefield Road during the investigation.
The neighbor, who declined to give her name, said there has never been any violence at the mental health treatment facility in the eight years she has lived there. The facilities director assured her in the past that La Selva does not allow anyone who is violent to live there.
"It must have been a misunderstanding, but he shouldn't be losing his life. I feel bad for the person," she said.
Police have come when some residents lit fires in the backyard near the fence. But whenever there were any concerns, staff has jumped on it right away, she said. If someone is playing music too loud or basketball in the backyard too late, she just calls the house and the issue is addressed, she said. Many residents have lived quietly at the home for years, she added.
"I wouldn't want anyone to think that this neighborhood is unsafe, because it isn't," she said.
"I do know that some of the people have garden-variety illnesses like depression or bipolar disorder, but many people in the community have those conditions," she said.
Michael Hayes, director of development and communications for Momentum, said in an email on Monday that the organization could not comment on details related to the incident.
"As you can imagine there is much sensitivity around this topic and really no ability to elaborate given this is still an open investigation," he wrote.
Momentum released a statement by email to Palo Alto Online on Monday morning that read in part:
"Our residential program located on Forest Avenue is a Transitional Residential program. It is fully licensed by the State of California Department of Social Services and Department of Health since 1979.
"We provide a program of care and support for our residents who are recovering from mental illness, primarily anxiety and depression. This program is staffed by over a dozen mental health professionals -- including psychiatrists, psychologists, nursing staff and experienced clinicians -- who usually work with 12 residents at a time.
"We carefully assess all referrals, excluding those with assaultive or sexual assaultive histories, as they would not be a good fit for our program nor the neighborhood. Many of our residents come directly from their homes in Palo Alto or local colleges and universities," the email stated.
Investigators from the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office were on scene Friday and are conducting a parallel investigation alongside the Palo Alto Police Department. Both entities worked through the night investigating the incident, the second release said.
Lt. Zach Perron said by email that whether the incident was captured by video or audio recording devices is part of the ongoing investigation. He did say that all department patrol cars are equipped with a five-camera video-recording system that also has audio-recording capabilities.
Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner and Editorial Assistant Sam Sciolla contributed reporting to this story.