News

Police searching for gunman, targeted driver in Midtown shooting

Two men involved in confrontation at Safeway parking lot

Update on Thursday, Aug. 9.: Police have arrested a man in connection with an Aug. 3 shooting outside the Safeway parking lot. Read the story here.

---

Police have released an image of a man wanted for a shooting outside the Safeway in Palo Alto's Midtown neighborhood, where he fired shots at a driver who fled the scene and led officers on a car chase to U.S. Highway 101 on Friday night, police said.

Emergency dispatchers received multiple reports of a shooting around 9:15 p.m. near Safeway, which is located at 2811 Middlefield Road, police Sgt. Wayne Benitez said.

The shooting occurred near one of two exits of the store's parking lot, he said.

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Through a preliminary investigation, officers learned through witnesses that the shooter was in a confrontation with another man who was entering the driver's seat of a white Lexus SUV, police said in a news release. Detectives don't know the reason behind the confrontation or if the two men knew each other.

The shooter fired multiple rounds from a semi-automatic handgun at the Lexus as the driver sped from the scene, police said.

When officers arrived in the area, they saw the fleeing Lexus with paper license plates and what appeared to be a shattered window, police said.

The responding officers drove after the Lexus as it traveled erratically to Highway 101, where they lost sight of the vehicle, according to police.

Police have been unable to locate anyone involved in the shooting as of late Saturday morning. They don't know the whereabouts of the driver targeted in the shooting or if he was injured by the gunfire, police said. Agency officials haven't heard of anyone injured by gunfire seeking medical attention at local hospitals.

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Police have released to the public an image of the alleged shooter as seen on Safeway's security video footage. He is described as a muscular white man in his 30s or 40s seen wearing a black tank top and a black baseball cap worn backward. He also has thin tattoos, possibly of tribal bands or barbed wire, around both biceps.

The driver targeted in the shooting was described as a black man in his 20s or 30s seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, according to police. Investigators said they are concerned about his welfare and want to check if he is receiving medical treatment for injuries, if any, from the shooting. Investigators have additionally released an image of the white Lexus he drove.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the police's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Police searching for gunman, targeted driver in Midtown shooting

Two men involved in confrontation at Safeway parking lot

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Aug 3, 2018, 11:47 pm
Updated: Mon, Aug 6, 2018, 8:35 am

Update on Thursday, Aug. 9.: Police have arrested a man in connection with an Aug. 3 shooting outside the Safeway parking lot. Read the story here.

---

Police have released an image of a man wanted for a shooting outside the Safeway in Palo Alto's Midtown neighborhood, where he fired shots at a driver who fled the scene and led officers on a car chase to U.S. Highway 101 on Friday night, police said.

Emergency dispatchers received multiple reports of a shooting around 9:15 p.m. near Safeway, which is located at 2811 Middlefield Road, police Sgt. Wayne Benitez said.

The shooting occurred near one of two exits of the store's parking lot, he said.

Through a preliminary investigation, officers learned through witnesses that the shooter was in a confrontation with another man who was entering the driver's seat of a white Lexus SUV, police said in a news release. Detectives don't know the reason behind the confrontation or if the two men knew each other.

The shooter fired multiple rounds from a semi-automatic handgun at the Lexus as the driver sped from the scene, police said.

When officers arrived in the area, they saw the fleeing Lexus with paper license plates and what appeared to be a shattered window, police said.

The responding officers drove after the Lexus as it traveled erratically to Highway 101, where they lost sight of the vehicle, according to police.

Police have been unable to locate anyone involved in the shooting as of late Saturday morning. They don't know the whereabouts of the driver targeted in the shooting or if he was injured by the gunfire, police said. Agency officials haven't heard of anyone injured by gunfire seeking medical attention at local hospitals.

Police have released to the public an image of the alleged shooter as seen on Safeway's security video footage. He is described as a muscular white man in his 30s or 40s seen wearing a black tank top and a black baseball cap worn backward. He also has thin tattoos, possibly of tribal bands or barbed wire, around both biceps.

The driver targeted in the shooting was described as a black man in his 20s or 30s seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, according to police. Investigators said they are concerned about his welfare and want to check if he is receiving medical treatment for injuries, if any, from the shooting. Investigators have additionally released an image of the white Lexus he drove.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the police's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Comments

Elizabeth
Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2018 at 12:16 am
Elizabeth , Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2018 at 12:16 am
6 people like this

I always thought the midtown Safeway was a little grimy, but wow.


Tim
Los Altos
on Aug 4, 2018 at 6:21 am
Tim, Los Altos
on Aug 4, 2018 at 6:21 am
9 people like this

Muggings, shootings in expensive Palo Alto...wow!


Elizabeth
Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2018 at 8:07 am
Elizabeth , Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2018 at 8:07 am
31 people like this

Tim, Palo Alto follows San Francisco's trend of becoming more expensive yet more dangerous every year. I don't know how that's sustainable.


R. Davis
Crescent Park
on Aug 4, 2018 at 9:50 am
R. Davis, Crescent Park
on Aug 4, 2018 at 9:50 am
15 people like this

Possibly attributable to a verbal altercation or an attempted mugging. Since a number of people are packing heat these days, not surprising anymore regardless of the locale.

That Safeway/7-11 area along Middlefield & Colorado will always pose a potential problem as both stores are open 24 hours & provide a convenience in terms of 'quick stop' shopping for both PA residents & outsiders alike. As a result, it becomes a hub of sorts...for both legal & illegal activity.

Alcohol sales/access & the presumed availability of customer cash on hand are always incentives for potential crimes along with the parking lot 'dealing' of various substances.












Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 4, 2018 at 10:00 am
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 4, 2018 at 10:00 am
10 people like this

Another media outlet seemed to indicate they fled at very high speed onto 101 and the description confused me: said Charleston Rd onto 101, but went north....can only get on SB there.
Paper license plates, so untraceable except for description of vehicle. I think cars without front license plates (like some fancy cars) and new (or stolen, possibly) cars with paper plates should face extra scrutiny or something, get pulled over, because these criminals like these here are examples of getting away with crime just this way. If I went around w/o a front plate on my regular car I’d get in trouble, but don’t Teslas do this?!
Are there high quality surveillance cameras at the 24 hour Safeway and 7-11? Would help if the City required these for 24 hour stores, whichbare known to invite crime.


mauricio
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 4, 2018 at 10:38 am
mauricio, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2018 at 10:38 am
52 people like this

The faster Palo Alto is urbanized and densified, the faster the crime rate grows. Downtown is dangerous, especially at night, although muggings now happen even in broad daylight. House break-ins are a daily occurrence, bank robberies are common, now shootings. [Portion removed.]


musical
Palo Verde
on Aug 4, 2018 at 12:37 pm
musical, Palo Verde
on Aug 4, 2018 at 12:37 pm
2 people like this

More information has become available. Awaiting an update to this article.
I wonder whether this Safeway shopper used his club card?
I did happen to drive by on Middlefield around 10pm.
Obviously something out of the ordinary going on.
Looking forward to Tuesday evening downtown National Night Out.


musical
Palo Verde
on Aug 4, 2018 at 12:49 pm
musical, Palo Verde
on Aug 4, 2018 at 12:49 pm
Like this comment

... and the update has just appeared, 12:45p.


Sutter Avenue Resident
Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 12:53 pm
Sutter Avenue Resident, Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 12:53 pm
Like this comment

>>>I wonder whether this Safeway shopper used his club card?

What difference would that make? *scratching head*


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2018 at 12:55 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2018 at 12:55 pm
8 people like this

If the shopper used his club card or his credit/debit card, Safeway should be able to help police identify the shoppers. If they used cash, not so much so.


Sutter Avenue Resident
Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm
Sutter Avenue Resident, Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm
Like this comment

>>>If the shopper used his club card or his credit/debit card, Safeway should be able to help police identify the shoppers. If they used cash, not so much so.

What makes you think the gunman was a shopper at Safeway?

So let's interrogate all of the legitimate shoppers using various cards while the guy with the paper license plates gets away.

Even Columbo wouldn't buy into this approach.


Sutter Avenue Resident
Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 1:53 pm
Sutter Avenue Resident, Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 1:53 pm
5 people like this

Curious. Why were the police chasing the black guy in the Lexus who was shot rather than actively pursuing the alleged shooter who appears to be white?

In retrospect, it might be prudent to check if the shooter was using a Safeway Club Card.


JR McDugan
Registered user
Palo Verde
on Aug 4, 2018 at 2:03 pm
JR McDugan, Palo Verde
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2018 at 2:03 pm
30 people like this

Sutter Avenue Resident, the police chased the vehicle because it fled the scene. Whether the driver was black, white, or was a self-driving car is irrelevant, if you speed away from the scene of a shooting, the police are going to attempt to pull you over. Your post needlessly defames the Palo Alto PD and you owe them an apology for implying their actions had anything to do with the race of the victim.


Sutter Avenue Resident
Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 2:20 pm
Sutter Avenue Resident, Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 2:20 pm
Like this comment

>>>Sutter Avenue Resident, the police chased the vehicle because it fled the scene. Whether the driver was black, white, or was a self-driving car is irrelevant, if you speed away from the scene of a shooting, the police are going to attempt to pull you over. Your post needlessly defames the Palo Alto PD and you owe them an apology for implying their actions had anything to do with the race of the victim.

Maybe the driver fled because he was scared, injured and unarmed. Meanwhile the active shooter gets away. Ironic regardless of color.

A no-win scenario except for maybe the shooter.




Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2018 at 3:15 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2018 at 3:15 pm
7 people like this

Sutter Road

I think you should reread the article. The white guy was the shooter and he had shopped in Safeway. Both the shooter and the victim fled the scene which seems doubly worrying. Who runs away from the scene if they have been shot?

If I had been in the store at the time and used my credit card and club card I would have expected to be asked by the police for my details even if I hadn't witnessed the crime. It is called good policing to check on everyone in the vicinity of a crime so that the good guys can be eliminated from their inquiries. Don't you watch tv cop shows?


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Aug 4, 2018 at 3:17 pm
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Aug 4, 2018 at 3:17 pm
4 people like this

Thanks for posting the photo.
Investigate, find them, arrest them, convict them and lock them the heck up. No one needs people so stupid and mentally disturbed that they have to engage in gunplay in public. Lock'em up!

Interesting that there is a book out now called "Fast Food Genocide" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman that talks about how the proliferation of junk food, and processed foods are not only making people physically ill but they work on the mind too, in most cases making people more violent and less able to think clearly. The example we should have learned from was pellagra in the southern US. This is a real fascinating book that I recommend.


Midtown Marine
Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 3:27 pm
Midtown Marine, Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 3:27 pm
73 people like this

I was shopping at Safeway when this occurred. I did not see anything, however was in the parking lot to witness the parking lot chaos. My hats off to the female officer. She was first to arrive and immediately took command. At the time, I thought it was odd that she was sent alone ( I did not know about the car chase.) In my younger years as a Marine, the bigger the man, the better. I chuckled wondering how this young lady planned on handling the mess. Well, this old man was proven wrong. She remained calm even with all the yelling. When her calvery arrived she immediately began to dishout tasks to them. She even stopped to Yell out to myself and the rest of the penguin shoppers what her plan was. As, I drove past her, I complimented her on what a great job she did as a lady officer. I didnt expect a response because she was so busy , but she yelled out to me she works hard to be a good POLICE officer who happens to be a lady. So Ms. Officer, this old Marine wants you to know he heard you loud and clear!! And I will never make that mistake again! To the rest of the force, good job. Ignore the negative comments. They are probaly the ones running in the opposite direction of shooting while you guys ran to it!


Why am i not surprised
Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 3:52 pm
Why am i not surprised, Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 3:52 pm
18 people like this

Funny how the victim is being blamed for being shot at and getting the heck outta there because bullets are flying over his head. No one is really talking about the suspect who actually did the shooting.Somehow for strange reasons i guess he'll be in the right.I'm curious how many of you would hang around and wait for the Police while bullets are being shot into your car.


Ben Dover
Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 4:22 pm
Ben Dover, Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 4:22 pm
36 people like this

Wow whoever refers to midtown Safeway as "grimey" is sheltered and oblivious. Palo Alto and the majority of the peninsula is hands down the least grimey portion of the whole bay area.. This kinda shit happens all the time in the rest of the bay area, then it happens once in Palo Alto and the residents automatically get the idea their community is so dangerous... Typical


R. Davis
Crescent Park
on Aug 4, 2018 at 5:56 pm
R. Davis, Crescent Park
on Aug 4, 2018 at 5:56 pm
3 people like this

QUOTE: Curious. Why were the police chasing the black guy in the Lexus who was shot rather than actively pursuing the alleged shooter who appears to be white?

QUOTE: Funny how the victim is being blamed for being shot at and getting the heck outta there because bullets are flying over his head. No one is really talking about the suspect who actually did the shooting.

Kind of makes you wonder...but I guess one had to actually be there to get the full drift of the situation.


Why no club card
Ventura
on Aug 4, 2018 at 6:59 pm
Why no club card, Ventura
on Aug 4, 2018 at 6:59 pm
2 people like this

The guy walked out of the store with stuff he didn’t pay for. That’s why he sped away.


musical
Palo Verde
on Aug 4, 2018 at 9:06 pm
musical, Palo Verde
on Aug 4, 2018 at 9:06 pm
1 person likes this

Semi-automatic? Must have found spent shell casings. And not divulging the caliber.
Detectives will catch him. Courts will let him go. Lather, rinse, repeat.


Nayeli
Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 10:26 pm
Nayeli, Midtown
on Aug 4, 2018 at 10:26 pm
12 people like this

My husband took one look at the white Lexus SUV and said that it was an older RX model -- between 1999 and 2003.

I asked him why someone driving such an old vehicle would have a paper license plate. He said that it's possible that the vehicle could have been recently purchased from a used car dealership or that the person had recently moved into California and was awaiting new tags. Otherwise, he said it could simply be an attempt to use a paper license plate to avoid police notice (including non-registration ticket).

Do we know if the victim was uninjured? I hope that he wasn't shot and somehow pulled off some place and was incapacitated because of his injuries. I read about someone who was shot during a robbery but refused to seek help because of an outstanding warrant.


Hm
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 4, 2018 at 10:42 pm
Hm, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 4, 2018 at 10:42 pm
Like this comment

Thoughts and prayers to the man who got shot. I do really think he fled the scene because he was scared of further consequences, especially by what an enraged man could do to him. (and, I think he was afraid of the police , maybe fearing that he would be blamed for the incident)

Obviously case still muddy. I hope that there will be justice served. Stay safe there, folks. Sometimes it’s better to just walk away from a dispute. You never know who is on edge,


Curious
Barron Park
on Aug 4, 2018 at 11:02 pm
Curious, Barron Park
on Aug 4, 2018 at 11:02 pm
1 person likes this

Does anyone know why this safeway is open 24 hours?


Sanctimonious City
Registered user
Barron Park
on Aug 5, 2018 at 12:33 am
Sanctimonious City, Barron Park
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2018 at 12:33 am
22 people like this

[Post removed.]


DTN Paul
Registered user
Downtown North
on Aug 5, 2018 at 8:07 am
DTN Paul, Downtown North
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2018 at 8:07 am
6 people like this

[Post removed.]


Reality Check
Registered user
another community
on Aug 5, 2018 at 10:17 am
Reality Check, another community
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2018 at 10:17 am
7 people like this

At the time PAPD were chasing the fleeing white Lexus, they were not yet clear on whether it carried victim(s) or shooter(s). However, any time a car drives away from a crime scene and accelerates to doing 4x the speed limit on city streets to evade pursuing police cars, it suggests a consciousness of guilt that must be investigated.

An excerpt from the Post story:

"Police chased a white Lexus SUV with a smashed driver’s side window and blue paper plates. The SUV fled police at 90 mph north on Middlefield Road, west on Oregon Expressway, south on Alma Street before turning onto East Charleston Road and north on San Antonio Road, where the driver merged onto Highway 101.

"Police chased the SUV, but soon lost it on northbound Highway 101, where it was speeding over 100 mph in heavy traffic approaching University Avenue."


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Aug 5, 2018 at 12:07 pm
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Aug 5, 2018 at 12:07 pm
34 people like this

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comments.]


Curious
Barron Park
on Aug 5, 2018 at 12:40 pm
Curious, Barron Park
on Aug 5, 2018 at 12:40 pm
1 person likes this

Do auto body shops have a legal responsibility to report bullet holes when repairing vehicles?

If not, I would never buy a used car pocked by .38s, .45s and the like. It could be a car earmarked for later retribution by various low-lifes.


Dick Tracy
Triple El
on Aug 5, 2018 at 12:42 pm
Dick Tracy, Triple El
on Aug 5, 2018 at 12:42 pm
4 people like this

The suspect's shopping cart has a flat-top bottle of blue liquid. Can somebody identify it? Grocery stores don't sell very many blue liquids. Do other camera frames show more of the cart contents? Can they match those contents to a checkout record? Did the suspect pay with a card? Is there a name associated with the card?


No Real Answer
Midtown
on Aug 5, 2018 at 1:34 pm
No Real Answer, Midtown
on Aug 5, 2018 at 1:34 pm
11 people like this

>>>Why were the police chasing the black guy in the Lexus who was shot rather than actively pursuing the alleged shooter who appears to be white?

Standard Operating Procedure?


Sanctimonious City
Registered user
Barron Park
on Aug 5, 2018 at 2:41 pm
Sanctimonious City, Barron Park
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2018 at 2:41 pm
12 people like this

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]




The Polarization of America
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 5, 2018 at 3:09 pm
The Polarization of America, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 5, 2018 at 3:09 pm
1 person likes this

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


hypocrites
Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 5, 2018 at 3:18 pm
hypocrites, Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 5, 2018 at 3:18 pm
21 people like this

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


@Sanctimonious Poster
Mountain View
on Aug 5, 2018 at 4:59 pm
@Sanctimonious Poster, Mountain View
on Aug 5, 2018 at 4:59 pm
2 people like this

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Vasche LaMou
Green Acres
on Aug 5, 2018 at 5:07 pm
Vasche LaMou, Green Acres
on Aug 5, 2018 at 5:07 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


R. Davis
Crescent Park
on Aug 5, 2018 at 5:31 pm
R. Davis, Crescent Park
on Aug 5, 2018 at 5:31 pm
4 people like this

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


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