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 vehicles. 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.