No shots were fired in an armed standoff with a 63-year-old transient man who claimed he had a gun, police said.
The police apprehended the man, whom they described as "mentally ill" and "suicidal," on the morning of Jan. 7, near the intersection of The Americana and El Camino Real, said Mountain View police spokeswoman Liz Wylie. Staff at the nearby offices of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation called police at 6:30 a.m. to report the man. "He was irate and claimed to have a gun," Wylie said.
The man told police officers he had a gun, keeping his hand tucked into his jacket. According to Wylie, he repeatedly asked officers to shoot him.
While the police did draw their guns, no shots were fired, Wylie said. Instead, a number of officers were able to sneak up behind the man, who was sitting on an electric-powered mobility device. Wylie said the police forced him to the ground in a "controlled manner."
He had a small scrape on his hand, "but that may have happened prior to us detaining him," Wylie said.
Wylie said that police always take apparent disabilities into account when dealing with people. However, because the man claimed to have a gun and was acting erratically, she said the officers acted appropriately.
It turned out that the man was unarmed and able to walk on his own, Wylie said. He was not arrested, but he was taken to a hospital where he was held for a psychiatric evaluation. "This is really a case of a mentally ill person," Wylie said.