A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge on Wednesday refused to grant bail to Adam Allen Smith, an entrepreneur and computer programmer who barricaded himself in a Palo Alto home last Friday and forced a tense, 29-hour standoff with multiple police agencies.
Judge Vincent Chiarello denied Smith bail after reading a police report filed in court that showed he poses a danger to the community. He also signed a temporary no-contact order protecting Smith's then girlfriend, who escaped from the house prior to the standoff, for one year or until the case resolves.
Shackled and clad in a jail-issued orange shirt, khaki-colored pants and sandals, Smith, 29, at times appeared stunned and tried not to nod off during his arraignment Wednesday in the Palo Alto Courthouse. He stared out several times at the victim's parents, who own the Tennessee Lane home where he had barricaded himself after an alleged domestic violence incident against her. He nodded repeatedly at the couple who did not appear to acknowledge him.
The 28-year-old woman and Smith had been in a relationship for five years and had lived together in the house for the past year, according to court documents. The woman and Smith had become increasingly estranged in the past couple of months. She had suggested he move out and that she didn't want to be his girlfriend, but he did not leave, according to the police investigation.
On the night of Thursday, Aug. 1, the couple argued after she and a friend visiting from Wisconsin tried to find a water leak at the home. Smith wanted them to call a plumber and began yelling at both women when they wouldn't take his advice, according to the report. Smith demanded the victim's friend leave and threatened to physically throw her out. He threatened to call the police to have the friend removed for trespassing. The friend did not leave, and he did not call police that night.
The next morning, Smith asked the woman when her friend would be leaving. She told him that the woman was her friend and was welcome at the home, according to court documents. Smith then told her that he wanted to delete the friend's passcode to the electronic front door, as well as other users' passcodes. The information is controlled through the victim's cellphone, so she tried to lock herself in the bathroom to prevent him from taking her phone, she told police. Smith was able to follow her into the bathroom and put both hands around her neck, squeezing, she told police. The victim fought back, elbowing and kicking Smith. With one hand on her neck, he was able to take the phone from her and backed away.
The friend awoke after hearing the struggle during which Smith allegedly pushed the woman several times into walls. At times, her head struck the glass door of the shower stall, according to court documents.
The victim went into the bedroom where her friend was staying, locked the door and called 911 at 9:18 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 2. Smith, who knew the women were on the phone with police, allegedly told them through the door that they should tell police that if anyone entered the house, he had a loaded gun, court documents stated.
Police told the women to escape through the bedroom window, where they met arriving officers. Smith's then girlfriend, who had visible neck injuries, was treated by Palo Alto Fire Department paramedics and released at the scene, according to the police report.
During the Aug. 2 incident, after the victim and her friend called police, Smith, who is originally from Louisiana, engaged in a standoff with officers after they saw him through a window holding a handgun, according to police. The tense showdown began at about 10 a.m. and concluded the next day at about 2:45 p.m.
Smith repeatedly rebuffed or ignored officers' requests that he step outside and leave the gun inside. The Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) and Crisis Negotiation teams both responded and tried to get him out of the house, but he repeatedly said 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 surveillance robot equipped with a camera and communications capabilities to peer into his home. Officers observed Smith lying on his bed mumbling with the handgun beside him. The officer tried to converse with Smith through the robot's speakers. Smith "flipped off" the robot instead and left the bedroom a short time later. Officers then sent the robot into the house. As it moved through the hallway, Smith allegedly shot the robot, damaging it. Smith could be heard making threats that he would shoot anyone who came in the house and the only way the event would end is if police left or he died.
Further attempts by officers to speak with Smith were met by an extended middle finger, according to their report.
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.
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 police report.
SWAT team members fired multiple rounds of 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. Smith poured water over his head in an attempt to neutralize the effects of the gas, police observed. When Smith exited through the back door, he did not comply with arrest commands. Police fired a less-lethal projectile at him, hitting him in the torso, they said. After a brief scuffle, officers took him into custody and ushered him into the back of an awaiting SUV.
He was taken to Stanford Hospital and was treated for minor injuries. Police served him with an emergency restraining order that prevents him from having any contact with the 28-year-old woman and to immediately vacate the residence and another address in Redwood City, according to court documents.
Investigators found an unregistered 45-caliber handgun loaded with a 13-round, illegal high-capacity magazine and two other 13-round magazines in the house, according to police. On the exterior of the gun case was a sticker that stated, "Not legal in California and w/high capacity magazine," according to police.
Smith has been charged with one count each of resisting arrest; an enhancement of using a firearm to commit a felony; exhibiting a firearm or deadly weapon to resist arrest; inflicting corporal injury; false imprisonment; vandalism with damage greater than $400; misdemeanor battery on a spouse, ex-spouse, date, or companion; and a "three strikes" enhancement for use of a weapon.
Smith, who will be assigned a public defender, is scheduled to enter a plea on Aug. 27.
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer Gennady Sheyner contributed to this report.