Man arrested after prolonged police standoff in Charleston Meadows | News | Palo Alto Online |


Man arrested after prolonged police standoff in Charleston Meadows

Police, with help from SWAT team, neighboring cities, bring suspect into custody

Palo Alto police officers and a SWAT team respond to a home in the 300 block of Tennessee Lane where man accused of domestic violence barricaded himself inside a home on Aug. 2. Photo by Veronica Weber.

Read our updated story on the standoff here.

A marathon standoff between Palo Alto police and an armed man who barricaded himself inside a home in Charleston Meadows home concluded Saturday afternoon, when police used negotiations, canines and tear gas to get the man out of the house and arrested him.

The man, who was allegedly armed with a handgun, was accused of domestic violence, according to a Palo Alto Police Department news release. Officers were trying to get him out since Friday morning, when the female victim reported the abuse, according to police spokeswoman Janine De La Vega.

Emergency responders arrived in the 300 block of Tennessee Lane, near Wilkie Way and Robles Park, at about 10 a.m. Friday. Just before noon, the department issued a notification that the victim is safe and with police; that the scene is contained; and that there is no danger to the community.

The victim did not suffer any serious injuries and was treated at scene, according to the police. No one besides the man was inside the house.

The standoff ended 29 hours after it had begun with the man, looking bedraggled and bleary-eyed, being ushered out of the house by officers and placed into an awaiting SUV. Police recovered his handgun, the department said in a news release.

The standoff, by far the longest in the city's recent history, stretched throughout the night, with officers cordoning off a section of Wilkie Way and paramedics standing by. Negotiators with a bullhorn continuously called on the man to come out of the house and neighbors reported hearing banging sounds that sounded like flash bombs at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Throughout the ordeal, officers used a loudspeaker in an effort to persuade the man to leave the residence and were heard asking him to pick up the phone. A negotiator told the man barricaded inside his home that he would periodically check in on him.

Despite these efforts, the man had only "intermittent verbal contact" with police negotiators throughout but refused to exit the house, according to a department tweet.

The standoff continued throughout much of Saturday, with officers continuing their efforts to get the man to surrender. During the early-morning hours on Saturday, cruisers and Fire Department paramedics remained stationed around both sides of Wilkie Way and car access was blocked with orange cones and police tape.

Later in the afternoon, the SWAT team positioned itself near the house and police dogs were brought in to assist with the apprehension. As officers in tactical gear put on gas masks and swarmed around the house, negotiators continued to press for the man to leave the house and promised him that he would be safe. Meanwhile, paramedics moved their vehicles from the perimeter to the area next to the house.

Dozens of officers, including members from the Mountain View Police Department, the Los Altos Police Department, the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, and the Stanford University Department of Public Safety, assisted with the 29-hour standoff, which climaxed just after 2 p.m. Saturday.

At around that time, officers and police dogs converged on the Tennessee Lane home while a drone buzzed overhead. After several minutes of sharp banging sounds, blaring sirens and barking dogs, negotiators told the man that the house was surrounded and continued to press him to go outside.

"Come out with your hands up and leave your gun inside the house," a negotiator repeatedly told the suspect, as police employed tear gas. "Let us get you some water. Let us get you some medical attention."

Finally, at around 2:30 p.m., the man began to walk toward the back of the house and into the backyard, as instructed by officers. The man was then led through a neighboring backyard and ushered into the back of an awaiting SUV on Carolina Lane.

Neighbors said that police activity is extremely rare in this quiet Eichler-style neighborhood in south Palo Alto. Resident Anne Houghteling, who has lived on Tennessee Lane since 1982, said on Friday that she returned to the neighborhood after running errands to find the road closed, blocking her way home. She said she didn't know who lives the residence where the man is barricaded.

Alan Jefferson, who surveyed the police action, said he doesn't recall any event like the Friday standoff occur in this neighborhood, which he described as "usually boring."

Despite the police activity, the streets outside the immediate area remained quiet throughout Saturday, with neighbors walking dogs and paramedics helping divert traffic around the cordoned area. Bicycles veered around the cordoned off area and the occasional pedestrian stopped to thank officers for keeping the neighborhood safe.

Neighbors at the scene said they didn't know much about the man who barricaded inside the house, though Joysee Bose, a housekeeper at a home on an adjacent street, said police had previously been to the house where the standoff took place.

"I saw police go to the house a couple of months back to break up a fight," she said.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


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

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


9 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2019 at 12:28 pm

What kind of gun? Is the gun legal or illegal?

17 people like this
Posted by A Moral Compass
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 2, 2019 at 12:36 pm

A Moral Compass is a registered user.

> What kind of gun? Is the gun legal or illegal?

^^^What difference does that make? A gun is a gun & if it is the hands of someone under emotional/mental distress, the situation just got more dangerous.

Curious...since the house is reported as being empty, is the suspect in the backyard?

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 2, 2019 at 1:39 pm

News helicopter circled about 5 times and just now departed the area (1:37pm).

19 people like this
Posted by Rose A
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 2, 2019 at 2:03 pm

Rose A is a registered user.

Thank you for keeping us safe, Palo Alto Police and Fire. I hope that this situation is resolved peacefully.

4 people like this
Posted by Gordy
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 2, 2019 at 3:09 pm

[Post removed.]

3 people like this
Posted by Fingers crossed
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 2, 2019 at 3:46 pm

[Post removed.]

13 people like this
Posted by Witheld
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2019 at 3:54 pm

Years ago I was the victim of a stalker after my ex wouldn't take "good bye" for an answer. (this after he cheated on me and lied about it) I was getting 50 phone calls a day and he showed up at my work and at my home uninvited and without warning.

The funny thing is the first time you call the cops, they really don't want to get involved. They take 30 minutes or more to show up and they just kind of listen to both sides. They might give a warning, but they won't make an arrest as long as nobody is bleeding.

You have to call them a few times, before they figure out for themselves who the crazy person is. The 3rd or 4th time you call they send 2 cars and they show up very quickly.

The last time I saw him, he was in handcuffs in the back of a squad car. (I had to make a positive ID, so they drove me to where he'd been captured)

Sometimes it takes 6 cop cars and the feeling of cold steel on the wrists for someone to "get" that it's over and they just have to move on.

Glad to hear the victim here was not injured and the perp has a chance to also move on and recover from his relationship disaster.

It's good that the cops are taking their time and using negotiators to try to deescalate the situation.

1 person likes this
Posted by Tennessee Jed
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 4, 2019 at 11:52 am

Tennessee Jed is a registered user.

Booking press release names suspect as 29-year-old Palo Alto resident Adam Allen Smith: Web Link

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

'Are they ready for fully innovative Indian food?' Ettan arrives in Palo Alto with chaat, caviar and a secret menu
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 3,619 views

Flying: How to lower your impact
By Sherry Listgarten | 11 comments | 2,594 views

Premarital and Couples: Here Be Dragons!
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,113 views

Goodbye toy stores
By Cheryl Bac | 12 comments | 1,677 views

Pseudo-Primary for CA Senate District 13: some thoughts
By Douglas Moran | 3 comments | 1,309 views


Short story writers wanted!

The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 27, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details