Man arrested after violent struggle over officer's gun

Police use Taser to restrain suspect after fight on a downtown sidewalk

A 34-year-old man yesterday led Palo Alto police on a wild chase through downtown Palo Alto, attacking an officer at one point, wrestling him to the ground, pulling the officer's holstered handgun and pointing it at him before being restrained.

The violent altercation took place minutes after police received a series of calls from downtown residents, reporting a man behaving suspiciously. Palo Alto. At about 2:49 p.m., police received a call from a resident in the 200 block of Emerson Street, reporting an unknown man in the caller's backyard. Police said the caller watched as the man left the yard by jumping over a fence. He was last seen heading northbound on Emerson Street towards Hawthorne Avenue.

Palo Alto police arrested 34-year-old Ryan Goodson of Fresno on Feb. 6, following a violent struggle downtown. Courtesy Palo Alto Police Department.
About five minutes later, police received a second 9-1-1 call reporting a possible burglary in progress at Da Hookah Spot. The 235 University Ave. hookah lounge was closed at the time, but a caller reported seeing a man jump through one of business' plate-glass windows and run down Ramona Street toward Lytton Avenue. A third call came in at the same time from Mills the Florist, also at 235 University Ave., reporting the man had walked into an employee-only area of the flower shop and then into Da Hookah Spot through an interior entryway. Both calls gave similar descriptions of the man, who was later identified by police as Ryan Goodson of Fresno.

The search continued, with an officer spotting Goodson walking westbound on Lytton Avenue approaching Emerson Street shortly before 3 pm. The officer attempted to detain Goodson, who police said was bleeding from a cut on his head. Goodson immediately attacked the officer and the two "began struggling on the sidewalk," according to a statement from the police. Goodson managed to rip the officer's holstered gun, a Glock 22 .40 caliber handgun, from his belt and pointed it at him, but was unable to remove the weapon from the holster so it would not fire, despite his attempts to reach the trigger.

As the two wrestled on the sidewalk for control of the handgun, the officer's head hit an electrical box. Goodson also bit him on the shoulder, police said.

Within 30 seconds of the attack, two other officers arrived and one of them using his Taser to restrain Goodson. Police said Goodson continued to resist even after he was handcuffed. They used a leg immobilization device to control him.

Goodson sustained moderate injuries to his head and mouth. Police said they believe those injuries were primarily a result of jumping through Da Hookah Spot's glass window. Paramedics from the Palo Alto Fire Department transported Goodson to a local hospital, where he remained under police custody until he was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for four felony charges: taking a peace officer's firearm, resisting arrest with violence, brandishing a deadly weapon while resisting, and battery on a peace officer with injury.

The officer who was involved in the initial scuffle sustained "moderate" injuries to his hands and knees, police said, as well as pain to his head and minor injuries on his shoulder. He has been treated and released by a local hospital. A second officer received minor injuries on his hands, but declined medical treatment. No other officers were injured.

Anyone who witnessed this suspect's behavior, or who has information about this incident, is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.


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Posted by Dennis Anderson
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2014 at 10:34 am

Elena Kadvany has written a good, chronological, clear account of a series of events that could have had a terrible ending.
Unfortunately, the quality of her solid reporting was dimmed by an unfortunate and incorrect phrase in the first paragraph.
This is the definition of a "wild goose chase":

a wild or absurd search for something nonexistent or unobtainable
Dictionary examples: a wild-goose chase looking for a building long demolished.

any senseless pursuit of an object or end; a hopeless enterprise: Her scheme of being a movie star is a wild-goose chase.

Almost outstanding report Ms. Kadvany. BTW, the story begs for two follows: 1) interview officer who was in the struggle for his weapon. What thoughts were in his mind in those terrifying seconds. 2) recall the last time a Palo Alto police officer died violently on duty.

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Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 7, 2014 at 10:45 am

I have to comment on this story!
First, I want to commend the police, especially the one who first caught the suspect, for their bravery and appropriate (based on the story) use of force in capturing the man. Hopefully this felonious fellow will be prosecuted and serve time in prison for his actions. And I am thankful that the suspect was caught without significant injury to anyone.
My other comment is to suggest to the reporter that the use of the phrase "wild goose chase" does not seem to be correct in this case. A wild goose chase is by definition one where the likelihood of success is extremely low. It seems the chase was wild, but it doesn't seem to fit the definition of wild goose chase. I intend this as a friendly comment, because I am generally appreciative of the quality and large number of stories that the Weekly's small staff is able to produce.

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Posted by randy
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:12 am

I'm sure the officer was not thinking happy thoughts.... I recall a recent thread on PA online where one of the commenters was commenting about how he/she was just as much in danger being out in public as police officers in palo alto. Hopefully this story will enlighten that person. Seems like the officers would have been justified to shoot that guy

These cops come across situations every day, while not to this extreme, even in sleepy palo alto. What is not seen are the probable numerous encounters each day that do not reach this level of violence. Perhaps some of those are the result of good officers doing their jobs properly, safely. To continually question, malign and criticize via online threads is incorrect, unhelpful, and often ignorant. I will just say thanks when i see them.

What shocks me most, that the officer would be in such a violent struggle, in downtown, AND NO ONE OFFERED TO HELP? When I drive by that area, there are always tons of people. How many people just took out their cellphones to record it?

Great job PAPD!

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Posted by Yikes
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:26 am

Meth is bad for you.

2 people like this
Posted by Michael
a resident of Portola Valley
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:26 am

I have the greatest respect for these officers. Good work PAPD.

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Posted by LAHscot
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:30 am

Only in PA would folks quibble with a reporter's good work for such a small item. It works for me that Ryan Goodson was the one on the wild goose chase, in search of any number of ways to get arrested. The PAPD was lead on that chase, as insane as it was (drug induced?), by all the flapping that Goodson did. QED. Now, keep writing Ms. Kadvany ...and let's lock the bugger up for a nice long time.

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Posted by Some Thoughts
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:34 am

You nerds make me laugh. I agree "wild goose chase" is the incorrect phrase, but more importantly, it's too casual to use in a news report.

The suspect appears to be a meth addict. Meth inhibits pain. Someone I know was involved in a fight with someone in EPA who was wired on meth (he was trying to evict him) and he hit the meth addict in the face with a pan and the guy just kept coming at him! It ended when this person jumped on the roof and shot holes through the meth addict's roof. Boy, do we have a boring life. . .

As to Randy's thoughts on why no one offered to help, perhaps in Richmond or a blue collar town someone would jump in, but this is nerdy Palo Alto.

Thank you to our PAPD for risking your lives to keep us safe - I'm always grateful to those who are in law enforcement.

2 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:39 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Such a near miss for the officer, such a near tragedy for the police involved. It seems it might actually be a real tragedy for Goodson's loved ones. I'm so glad that the Taser officer was on scene so quickly, so that it wasn't a tragedy for all involved.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:44 am

> Elena Kadvany has written a good, chronological, clear account of a series of events that could have had a terrible ending.

No new information here. The article is simply an adaptation of the PAPD press releases: Web Link and Web Link

Glad that none of the PAPD officers were seriously hurt. The press release didn't mention that a PAPD sergeant recommended that officers initially converge to the area around Emerson Street where the suspect was first spotted. Thinking they might have an active residential burglary, PAPD was fortunate to have a number of officers nearby to subdue Mr. Goodson. Still not clear how a holstered Glock 22 got separated from the PAPD officer's duty belt. But, the PAPD sergeant's smart action likely made what could have been a tragic situation turn out OK.

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Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:45 am

ChrisC is a registered user.

Thank god the PAPD officer was not shot. Thank you so much for your service to the community. As for bystanders not helping out, I'm not sure how wise it would be to get in the middle of a police officer with a gun and a crazy person grappling on the ground unless someone had been specially trained. This excitement still probably does not top the Chinese kitchen worker who ran through the Cal Ave area brandishing a cleaver.

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Posted by Elena Kadvany
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:45 am

Thanks to all the readers who commented on the correct use of "wild goose chase." After further review, I removed the phrase.

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Posted by Wild Goose Chase?
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:55 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:56 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Elena - I was on a bit of a "wild goose chase" when I tried to find the phrase, but didn't ;-)

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Posted by Give me a break
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 7, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Guys - why so uptight about the goose chase phrase?! You're not the editor so just read the article and move on! The writer at the Weekly are doing just fine!

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Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 7, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Gethin is a registered user.

I am very glad that thanks to excellent police work this criminal is off the streets and thankful that no officer was severly hurt in the process

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Posted by Grammar Police
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 7, 2014 at 2:55 pm

We usage freaks are always on the lookout here in Palo Alto. LAHscot, you should not have used "lead." Even though it's pronounced the same way in certain situations, "led" is the correct word here. I lead now, I led yesterday. The other "lead" is used in a sentence like "Get the lead out, soldier!"

Meanwhile, thanks be to God that the perpetrator here didn't fill the officer full of lead. I agree with those folks on other crime-related threads who suggest that maybe it's time to start neighborhood watch programs back up. But no, you folks who think we should all jump in to help the officer, interfering is more likely to cause problems than to help.

2 people like this
Posted by enligh
a resident of Mayfield
on Feb 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm

no one is saying cops arent in danger,they might be saying that everyday people are responsible for themselves cause they may have no weapons. again, randy like many others wants to make it seem like police are risking more than any 'average'' person. most people dont have a squad of police to comne running to protect them and even falsify events in court for them.police do. most people arent packing sidearms and tazers either, ask that bcouple in the home invasion if they dont risk as much as any officer. randy like many others wants it to make police more ''important'' than any living thing. no one needs to be ''enlightened''. thats a typical white rascist attitude. police are ''more important than you who are not police''.is it any wonder people like that guy do what he did. its that overvaluation of ''authority''. but as we know, if someone doesent like you, you could save them from a burning building and they'd accuse you of being a showoff. no arguing with people who value police over life itself. maybe thats what scared that guy into doing what he did. wonder what event will happen next to ''enlighten'' randy.

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Posted by scott
a resident of Monroe Park
on Feb 7, 2014 at 3:33 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

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Posted by apparently
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 7, 2014 at 3:38 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

2 people like this
Posted by bick
a resident of University South
on Feb 7, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Goodson is lucky to still be alive, as is the officer.

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Posted by Carl
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 7, 2014 at 5:42 pm

The initial police officer let the perp get his gun. Getting into a street wrestling match is not good policing. The cop should have tasered/gassed the perp or shot him. There is no need for the cops or innocent people to die. Imagine if the perp had gotten the sidearm working, shot the cop, then whoever else was around.

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Posted by randy
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 7, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Carl, Never been in a fight, have you?

enligh: Never said anything about "authority" or it being overvalued. You did, please don't think you know what I want. Your post says it all. Making it a racist thing, cops and their squads of buddies to falsify things, etc, let us all know how you think.

Police certainly arent better than anyone else. But they are the ones we task with capturing people like this guy. So we who can't, don't have to. I support them for doing things like this, even if they seem to do some bonehead2aV things time to time.

Can't fault the cop for not shooting the guy, if he did, this town (with enligh in attendance) would have held a rally to throw him in jail!

I recall a man in brentwood perhaps (?) who helped save a policewomans life not too ago

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Posted by Dren
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2014 at 8:14 pm

No, nerds are not known for physical courage,

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Posted by Carl
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 7, 2014 at 8:26 pm

"Carl, Never been in a fight, have you?"

Plenty of them, all the way through high school. That's back when boys were not yet neutered, and allowed to fight.

A cop, on his own, should not go to the ground with a perp, if he can possibly help it. This cop should have prevented it, with every means available to him, including shooting the perp. This could have been a very big tragedy, but for the fact that perp couldn't get the sidearm to work.

The cops have been neutered by the citizens of towns like Palo Alto. They dwell, before they act. ACLU threats, etc. We dodged a real bullet this time, could have been a real mass tragedy.

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Posted by John F.
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2014 at 8:32 pm

I agree this guy was high on meth and wild as a goose, anyway. At first I thought he had a mental illness but his actions were not typical of anyone I've known with any variety of brain disorders. Would love to follow what happens to the guy once he cones down. [Portion removed.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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