Photo: ALexander Joseph Furrier
Originally published as a City of Palo Alto press release –
“Palo Alto, CA – Following a violent hate crime assault on a downtown street early on Sunday morning that left one victim temporarily unconscious and another victim thrown to the ground, officers took the fleeing suspect into custody with the assistance of a police canine after multiple attempts to negotiate a compliant arrest failed.
On Sunday, October 10, 2021, at about 1:32 a.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a witness reporting two males actively fighting near the intersection of University Avenue and Waverley Street. Officers responded immediately and located two victims (a male in his sixties and a woman in her twenties) and one suspect (a male in his twenties who had blood on his face).
The suspect immediately fled on foot, and officers gave chase while others rendered aid to the two victims and summoned personnel from the Palo Alto Fire Department to assist. Police learned that the male victim had temporarily lost consciousness.
The preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect and female victim were acquaintances and had been at a downtown bar and then a house party with a group of mutual friends. The female victim left the home with the male victim and another man, both of whom she identified as being homosexual.
The suspect followed the three on foot and continually called the two men homophobic epithets. When they got to University Avenue at Waverley Street, the men parted ways from the female victim. The suspect stayed with her despite her telling him to leave her alone. The suspect refused and proceeded to say rude things to her.
The male victim returned to come to the woman’s aid and asked if she needed help. When she replied that she did, the male victim confronted the suspect and asked him to leave the woman alone. The suspect then attacked the male victim, punching him several times while continuing to direct homophobic epithets at him.
The suspect then picked up the female victim and threw her to the ground when she tried to intervene. The suspect continued to punch the male victim, who was knocked temporarily unconscious as a result of the assault. Police arrived on scene, and the suspect fled on foot.
Officers chased the suspect on foot to the 400 block of Everett Avenue, where they found him hiding on a second-floor stairwell of an apartment complex. Officers, including one who is also a member of the Department’s Crisis Negotiation Team, attempted to negotiate with the suspect to come downstairs and surrender. The suspect did not comply and then refused to obey multiple arrest commands, even after being warned a police canine could be used to arrest him.
Police used the canine to help them take the suspect into custody. The suspect kicked the police dog repeatedly in the head and attempted to choke the dog between his legs until the officers were able to get the suspect safely handcuffed and in custody. Officers used no additional force on the suspect other than the canine. Officers rendered first aid to the suspect’s leg, the area that was bitten by the dog, and summoned personnel from the Palo Alto Fire Department to transport the suspect to a local hospital for treatment.
The male victim sustained a laceration to the back of his head and was admitted to a local hospital for evaluation for a possible head injury. The female victim said she was physically uninjured. The suspect sustained multiple lacerations from the dog bite to his lower leg, as well as a cut on his face that occurred prior to police arriving on scene. The police dog sustained a cut above one eye and also may have injured a paw; a veterinarian will evaluate and treat the dog’s injuries. No officers were injured during the arrest.
Following brief treatment at a local hospital where officers obtained a medical clearance for incarceration, police booked 26-year-old Alexander Joseph Furrier of Palo Alto into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for felony battery, felony hate crime, felony assault on a police dog, and misdemeanor resisting arrest (for fleeing from the police). His booking photo is attached to this release.
In the wake of recent national events and increased attention on hate crimes, the personnel of the Palo Alto Police Department continue to show their commitment to thoroughly investigate any reported hate crimes in Palo Alto. In late March, the Palo Alto City Council denounced violence directed at people of Asian descent, and that came on the heels of months of efforts with City Council’s ongoing conversations and work on race and equity. You are welcome to read a blog post from the City entitled “Steps the Community Can Take to Help Stop Hate Crimes.”