Palo Alto police rushed to intercept a man who was reportedly armed with a gun and allegedly constructing a bomb in El Camino Park on Wednesday morning, June 17.
Dispatchers received a call at 10:16 a.m. that a man was carrying a rifle in the park at 155 El Camino Real, Sgt. Dan Pojanamut said. Witnesses later reported the man was carrying a handgun. Multiple police officers responding to the scene were also told by witnesses that the man was making a bomb on the soccer field and was wearing bulletproof body armor.
Police declined to disclose to this news organization what tactics they used to deal with the man, but they confirmed they encountered an 18-year-old wearing a Kevlar vest. He had a realistic-looking weapon that turned out to be a BB gun. It did not have an orange tip that would have distinguished it from a bullet-carrying firearm. The man was cooperative, Pojanamut said.
"He made a poor decision. He was trying to clean the BB gun in a public area," Pojanamut said.
It is legal for a person to wear body armor if not a convicted felon, he added. Police had a lengthy conversation with the man about his poor judgment.
Pojanamut emphasized that, at all times — and especially in the current environment of civil unrest — people should be cognizant of their actions and how they might be perceived.
"If you have any weapon, (keep it) on private property out of the view of the public," he said.