PALO ALTO -- In the heart of bustling downtown Palo Alto on Thursday afternoon, police officers survived a dramatic encounter with a 34-year-old suspect who dove through the plate glass window of a Hookah lounge on University Avenue before wrestling one of the officers, ripping the Glock 22 handgun from his duty belt and trying to fire before he was subdued by another officer's stun gun.
The Glock 22, while pulled from the duty belt, remained in its holster, preventing the suspect from pulling the trigger, according to the Palo Alto Police Department.
Police declined to identify the suspect, who was hospitalized Thursday with injuries to his head and mouth that police say were sustained primarily when the suspect crashed through the window of The Hookah Spot before encountering police.
The officer who tackled the suspect struck his head on an electrical box during the struggle and was bitten on the shoulder by the suspect, according to a statement from Palo Alto police. The officer was treated and released from the hospital.
Police were summoned to the scene after receiving several 9-1-1 calls just before 3 p.m. Thursday reporting the suspect's bizarre behavior, first coursing through a backyard on Emerson Street, then running into Mills the Florist shop on University Avenue.
He walked through an employees-only area and through a back passageway to The Hookah Spot, which was closed. He leapt through the window and gashed his head, police say, then ran up Ramona Street toward Lytton Avenue and Emerson Street, where the police officer stopped him.
"When the officer directed him to stop, the suspect immediately attacked the officer and the two began struggling on the sidewalk," according to the police statement.
As the officer and suspect wrestled for control of the holstered gun, two other officers arrived within 30 seconds. One of them used his stun gun to subdue the suspect.
Anyone who witnessed the suspect's behavior or has information about the incident is asked to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to email@example.com or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.
Contact Julia Prodis Sulek at 408-278-3409. Follow her at twitter.com/juliasulek