News

Police: Man arrested after 29-hour standoff had illegal high-capacity magazine in his gun

Adam Allen Smith allegedly tried to strangle his girlfriend before barricading himself inside home

Update: Adam Allen Smith, who was arrested after the standoff, was denied bail on Aug. 7. Read the story here.

The Palo Alto man whose 29-hour standoff with the police transformed a quiet block of Charleston Meadows into a hive of police activity had allegedly tried to strangle his girlfriend and was armed with an unregistered handgun loaded with an illegal high-capacity magazine, according to the Palo Alto Police Department.

The man, whom police identified in a news release as Adam Allen Smith, was arrested at about 2:45 p.m. on Saturday after a tense showdown that began a little before 10 a.m. on Friday. The tense standoff concluded when police fired tear gas to get Smith out of the house, shot him in the stomach with a less-than-lethal projectile and then, after a brief scuffle, took him into custody and ushered him into the back of an awaiting SUV.

After receiving some medical treatment, Smith, 29, was booked in Santa Clara Main Jail on an array of charges, including domestic violence, an assault likely to produce great bodily injury (both felonies) and resisting arrest, according to the news release issued on Sunday morning.

Police said they had received a report at about 9:18 a.m. from a woman who was in the Tennessee Lane home with her female friend and the friend's boyfriend. The woman reportedly told the police that the boyfriend had attempted to strangle her friend earlier in the day and that he is in possession of a gun.

The caller and her friend, both of whom are in their 20s, had locked themselves in a bedroom away from the man, according to the news release. Public safety dispatchers instructed the women to climb out the bedroom window and meet responding officers outside, which they did.

According to the news release, the woman had visible injuries to her neck. She was treated by Palo Alto Fire Department paramedics and released at the scene. Smith, meanwhile, remained locked inside the home and responding officers could see him pacing and holding a gun.

Smith remained in the house in the 300 block of Tennesee Lane for the next 29 hours, repeatedly rebuffing or ignoring officers' requests that he step outside and leave the gun inside. The Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team and Crisis Negotiation Team both responded and tried to get him out of the house, but he repeatedly stated that he would shoot anyone who entered the residence to arrest him, according to the news release.

At one point in the negotiations, the police sent a robot to his home to provide a better communication link. He shot the robot with a gun, damaging it, police said.

The negotiations continued into late Friday night, with police cordoning off the area and blocking it to the public. During the night hours, the Mountain View Los Altos Regional SWAT Team and hostage negotiators came to relieve Palo Alto officers.

Jack Sweeney, who lives on Wilkie Way, said he heard the officers negotiating with the man until about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, at which point the talks abruptly shut down. He said he had heard what sounded like flash bombs, as well as blaring sirens and loud countdowns.

"I just hope this man ends up paying for all this response," Sweeney said Saturday afternoon, observing the hive of police activity.

On Saturday, police were seen walking around the area and entering the Carolina Lane home whose yard abuts the yard of the Tennessee Lane home. Residents of the Carolina Lane home were asked to leave during the operation as the SWAT team positioned itself in the house and on the roof, said one resident, who briefly returned to the scene Saturday.

The negotiations resumed late Saturday morning and began to escalate after noon, when paramedics and fire trucks moved their vehicles closer to the Tennessee Lane home. Around the same time, the bomb squad from the Santa Clara County's Sheriff Office arrived to deliver equipment and render assistant and San Mateo County's canine unit joined the action. Officers who wore tactical gear and SWAT Team vests surrounded the house and crisis negotiators continued to press Smith to come out of the house with his hands up.

"We are not going anywhere. We are worried about you. You've been here for more than 24 hours," an officer with a megaphone could be heard telling Smith. "We want you to come out without your gun. Come out and talk to us."

The area around Wilkie Way and Tennessee became busier after 2 p.m., when more police officers and canine units arrived at the Tennessee home. Six loud banging sounds and a blaring siren could be heard from just outside the house, as negotiators continued to call for the man to come out with his hands up and to leave the gun inside.

"Adam, I want you to come out in the back of the house with your hands up and nothing in your hands," an officer repeatedly said. "Come out peacefully."

As the negotiations unfolded, detectives obtained a warrant for Smith's arrest and a gun violence restraining order, requiring him to surrender his gun, according to the news release. They also obtained an emergency protective restraining order for the victim to protect her from Smith.

Meanwhile, as police continued to negotiate with Smith, SWAT team members fired tear gas into the home. Even with the chemical agent, Smith remained in the house for the next 15 minutes, as officers told him they would get him water and medical attention if he came out. Police said that after he came out through the back door, Smith did not comply with arrest commands and they fired a "less-lethal projectile" at him, hitting him in the stomach.

After what police described as a "minor struggle," Smith was ushered into an awaiting SUV on Carolina Lane and taken to the nearby paramedics, who offered aid. Police said Smith was taken to a local hospital for medical clearance before he was booked into jail.

In addition to the felony charges for domestic violence and assault, Smith is facing a felony vandalism charge for shooting the police robot. He was also charged with malicious and willful discharge of a firearm at an inhabited dwelling (for firing inside the home) and with three misdemeanors: resisting arrest, possession of a large-capacity magazine and failure to register a handgun in California, according to the police.

---

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.

Comments

24 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2019 at 12:37 pm

There has been too much bad news this week about guns in America


44 people like this
Posted by Good Job
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 4, 2019 at 1:39 pm

Good Job is a registered user.

PAPD: Good job exercising patience and finally arresting him without shooting him (with a lethal round).


8 people like this
Posted by Tuasosopo
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 4, 2019 at 2:26 pm

>> Smith is facing a felony vandalism charge for shooting the police robot.

^^^ What is the punishment for this type of crime?

I understand that police dogs have badges. Does this also apply to police robots?

A police robot is just a rolling radio-controlled tin-can with a TV camera although they are probably quite expensive to replace.

If it is repairable, does the DA reduce the charges?


34 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2019 at 3:11 pm

This would not have happened if there was no gun. We need to prevent guns getting into the hands of anyone who does not need one and this guy did not need a gun. The cost to society from "legally" bought and held guns is much too high. From the cost of policing this incident to the cost in human lives that happened last week in Gilroy and twice this weekend in different states. The cost in human lives, in human suffering, in security, in policing the aftermath, in policing events like this in Palo Alto is much too high. One man and a gun, it is a terrible legacy. We are no longer the Wild West. Let's behave more civilized.


60 people like this
Posted by BalancedCarefulConsideration
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 4, 2019 at 3:46 pm

I'm a resident of the neighborhood around Tennessee Lane. I have to admit, in general I haven't been a big fan of the police. I guess just an unfair bias. In this instance however, the members of the various forces protecting our neighborhood while trying to secure the surrender of the suspect were very approachable, willing to engage as necessary, and respectful. We thanked them for taking care of our neighborhood during this situation while they apologized us for disturbing our weekend. It speaks to their professionalism that the encounter ended after so many hours with no major injuries and zero deaths. Our neighborhood hopefully can come together to honor them in some way. After learning more about gun and magazine that were found, this could have ended much more tragically.


43 people like this
Posted by PA homeowner
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 4, 2019 at 8:29 pm

Thank you PAPD!


27 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 5, 2019 at 6:27 am

mauricio is a registered user.

The ridiculously easy access to guns is the greatest threat to the survival of this nation. Clearly the Framers didn't have this in mind.


8 people like this
Posted by Ron
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 5, 2019 at 6:43 am

Over 400,000 illegal firearms come into the US each year. We can’t stop drugs coming in, so how do we stop the guns? If a person wants a gun, they will get it. This is reality.


17 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 5, 2019 at 7:55 am

Illegal guns are much easier to import from Nevada than from foreign countries


16 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2019 at 8:33 am

It seems to me that most guns used in mass shootings are legally purchased.

Something wrong with this picture. So sad.


11 people like this
Posted by Ron
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 5, 2019 at 9:40 am

He had a high capacity clip. Those are illegal in California. If you want it, you can get it. This is reality in a nation that puts their firearms before their children.


1 person likes this
Posted by melting snow, falling flakes
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 5, 2019 at 9:45 am

Israel has a gun culture. Follow the Israeli example for gun laws.

Make a single exception to the Israeli laws - if you are a member of a well-regulated militia, you may have all the single shot muskets you want.

Let the gun nuts go to their musket shows, share their emotional dependence with other gun nuts, and find their joy. Just keep the AC on high, though. I hear snow flakes melt easily.

Thank you, PAPD.


9 people like this
Posted by Mary Ruth Leen
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 5, 2019 at 11:10 am

Mary Ruth Leen is a registered user.

Thank you to all the people who worked so hard to protect his neighborhood. Great job!


2 people like this
Posted by Safety First.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2019 at 11:16 am

What a blessing no one was hurt. Thank you, PAPD for your careful de-escalation of the situation, for getting the victims safely out of harms way, for communicating to neighbors about what was happening so everyone could be safe.

I'm very glad no officers were harmed. There are so many ways this could have taken tragic turns.

This young man clearly is mentally unstable and a danger to people around him. How do we control this kind of danger in a nation where anyone has easy access to automatic war weapons? Why is this equipment available for sale to the general public?

I'm no snowflake, but this is foolhardy policy if we want to maintain a safe and stable society.


23 people like this
Posted by melting snow, falling flakes
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 5, 2019 at 11:24 am

"How do we control this kind of danger in a nation where anyone has easy access to automatic war weapons?"

- Remove the guns.
- Address mental health services (requires investment, which will be blocked by republicans)


"Why is this equipment available for sale to the general public?"

Because the republican party allows it by blocking any sensible safety legislation. They do it, while lying to their base - trying to scare and inflame them, to retain power.

"Party before principle" - today's GOP


9 people like this
Posted by PA Police handled this brilliantly
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2019 at 11:24 am

Kudos to the Police... "Smith did not comply with arrest commands and they fired a "less-lethal projectile" at him, hitting him in the stomach."

Why don't ALL police departments employ this tactic? Too many stories of a person with a kitchen knife or similar getting show dead because he does not comply with verbal commands. Using brute force seems to be M.O of many police officers.


11 people like this
Posted by Resident of the area
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 5, 2019 at 11:38 am

All the violence you hear about happening around the world, in another state, or at least in another city, has finally happened "In my backyard." Not literally "MY" backyard, but definitely too close for comfort, as our home is located just a few houses away and in the area that the police blocked off to any thru traffic.

It was a scene right out of the movies. Everyone was here - police, fire dept, ambulances, Crisis Negotiation Team, SWAT and Bomb Squad. This guy turned our neighborhood upside down for those 29 long hours.

So thankful for the tireless support from all of these departments from Palo Alto, and our neighbors in MV & LA.


12 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 5, 2019 at 12:09 pm

@PA Police handled this brilliantly - I've read news reports about people with cell phones or purses in their hands being shot and killed by police. I agree that police need to be trained to use "less-lethal" weapons as their first option.


17 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 5, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

@mauricio, Of course you're right because that was written into the Constitution a long time ago so that people in our newly formed nation could have those bayoneted muzzle loading (cap/black powder/ball) muskets available in their homes in case some goofy delusional President decided to become the second coming of King George. Another home grown militia could be formed and Revolutionary War II would begin, with hopefully the same results. Repeating rifles and six shooter pistols hadn't been invented yet and these new military style assault weapons were two centuries away from being invented.

I had the opportunity to shoot one of those wild west single shot rifles (black gunpowder, cap and ball) at a Rendezvous in Red Lodge, Montana, years ago. An instructor gave me instructions on how to do it and demonstrated it before he turned the gun over to me. Then I had my chance at the target which was a cardboard bison 70-90 yards away on a hill. I got five shots at it as I remember. I stirred up a lot of dust behind and around the target. The bison survived and stuck his tongue out at me as he calmly walked away.


Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown

on Aug 5, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Novelera is a registered user.


Remember me?
Forgot Password?
Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.


2 people like this
Posted by police using force
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 6, 2019 at 12:37 am

The kind coments are nice, but I'm really disturbed by the fact that people are superimposing this incident over other potential uses of force. Yes, when police have a subject under observation for hours, they can plan plans with contingencies and contingencies for those contingencies. They can surround, call out, take cover, communicate and plan. The cop who stops a criminal who curses him, steps out of his car and quickly takes a shooting stance with a black object does not have the time to determine if its a gun or a cell phone (think nobody would be crazy enough to do this?), nor shold they bet their life on it. Nor should kind people like yourselves expect them to. Less lethal is great when the suspect (he wisely left his gun inside) is unarmed, until they try to take the cop's gun. It's suicide to use against an armed individual as it works maybe 40% of the time. The other 60%... hope you kissed your children that morning, cause you won't be seeing them again.


13 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 6, 2019 at 9:19 am

eileen is a registered user.

The most disturbing thing about this whole incident is the fact that this man had an unregistered handgun loaded with an illegal high-capacity magazine! No one on this thread seems alarmed by this fact. WTF, is this person doing with a military style weapon in our city?? What are the police saying about that??


2 people like this
Posted by julie armitano
a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2019 at 11:01 am

There are bad news about guns this week.



Like this comment
Posted by ReallyLiveHere
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 6, 2019 at 12:57 pm

ReallyLiveHere is a registered user.

The reality is that they've been selling legal magazines to people with a rivet that people drill out to turn a "10-round with rivet" magazine into a 30-round magazine. This makes it VERY easy to acquire an illegal high-capacity magazine in California.


2 people like this
Posted by melting snow, falling flakes
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 6, 2019 at 2:53 pm

> There are bad news about guns this week.

Is there ever good news? How long do we have to wait for the mythical 'good guy' with a gun?


- 257 mass shootings in the 25 'developed' countries this year.

- 250 were in the good ol' USA.

Of the 25 countries, guess which one has 300 million guns floating around?


2 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 7, 2019 at 11:26 am

mauricio is a registered user.

A recent FBI report reveals that counties that hosted Trump rallies experienced an average increase of 226 percent in hate crimes, and many, probably all of the hate crime perpetrators have possession guns, many of which are guns with high capacity magazines. Since hate crimes and mass shooting are becoming more and more frequent, and high capacity battlefield guns are in such abundance, this is much more than a bad crisis, this is an existential crisis.


2 people like this
Posted by melting snow, falling flakes
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 7, 2019 at 11:32 am

"Hate crimes increased 226% in places Trump held a campaign rally in 2016"

Web Link

Wow. Thanks, mauricio for the data find.


8 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 7, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Improving mental health and removing guns from those with mental health issues (determined how and by whom....?) is all well and good as a general goal.
Now: immediate ban on assault and semi-assault style weapons and (high capacity clips/ammo holders, whatever other ammunition term) for civilians is needed for an immediate difference in preventing high-damage, high death, high injury criminal events.
Let’s focus on short, medium and long term goals.
Let’s publicize who makes guns, esp. damaging, unneeded ones like ak-47. I read recently major investors like BlackRock investments are or were invested in guns.
Let’s figure out how to drastically reduce guns illegally imported/brought into the U.S.
Let’s figure out how to stop and penalize well-known damaging practices like straw gun purchases where WAGs of criminals in Chicago (where guns are banned!) merely drive over to Indiana, buy guns, deliver them to their felon boyfriends back in Chicago. Gang gun violence in Chicago is astoundingly horrific. Otherwise, the city is quite nice.


Like this comment
Posted by zap
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2019 at 7:23 pm

Nevermind that the murder rate is down


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

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Local Transit to the Rescue?
By Sherry Listgarten | 25 comments | 3,180 views

Morsey's Creamery brings buffalo-milk gelato to downtown Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 11 comments | 2,081 views

"You Gotta Have Balls [to do counseling] . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,784 views

Eating Green on the Green – August 25
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 1,138 views

Moral Panic, again on guns
By Douglas Moran | 18 comments | 757 views

 

Register now!

​On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

More Info