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Chief’s Community Update

August 5, 2020

This weekly update will include information about the recent efforts of the police department and provide you with information regarding recent incidents, crime trends, and community resource information.  Please take a moment to search our website and take advantage of the features.

Recent Events: 

Double Homicide in our City!

On Sunday, August 2, 2020 at approximately 8:11pm, County dispatch received 9-1-1 calls regarding a vehicle collision in the area of the 100 block of Gardenia Way.  Responding officers located a vehicle that collided with a parked car.  Inside of the vehicle, the officers located two victims with gunshot wounds.  The Menlo Park Fire Protection District and American Medical Response examined the victims and found both to be deceased. 

If you have any information related to this case, please contact Detective Dion at (650) 853-7247.  You can also email information to , or call or text information to the anonymous tip line at (650) 409-6792.

East Palo Alto Officer Recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers!

July 28, 2020:

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Northern California honored East Palo Alto Police Officer Francisco Fausto today in a virtual awards ceremony for leading the East Palo Alto Police Department with 17 arrests in 2019 for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs.  Each year MADD recognizes law enforcement officers who go above and beyond the call of duty to remove dangerous drunk drivers from our communities to save lives.  Officer Fausto will be sent a DUI award pin to wear on his uniform.

Arrest in 1993 Homicide!

On Monday, June 28, 1993, at approximately 11:55 AM, paramedics were dispatched to the 2300 block of Ralmar Avenue on a report of an unresponsive 3-year-old girl. The victim was thereafter transported to Stanford Hospital but died at 12:43 PM the same day. The brothers and sister of the victim (ages 1, 4 & 17 days old), were released to Child Protective Services.

The mother of the child Yolanda Ortega, a 27-year-old East Palo Alto resident and her husband fled to Mexico prior to the Coroner’s determination that the victim’s cause of death was homicide.


This has been an ongoing investigation with numerous investigators from the East Palo Alto Police Department, the San Mateo Sheriff’s Office, the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service.

On Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at approximately 5:30 PM, the Marshals Service Fugitive Apprehension Team tracked Ortega down after she entered a shopping center parking lot in Oxnard, California. Ortega, now 54 years old, was taken into custody and booked into jail.

The East Palo Alto Police Department is committed to investigating homicide cases and will follow every lead to locate and arrest any suspect that commits a homicide in our city.

Illegal Firework Investigations & Related Arrests!

Conviction in East Palo Alto Homicide! 

In November of 2019, Mr. Freeman Owens III a.k.a. “Tut” was convicted for the 2015 homicide with a firearm of Mr. Mark Jack at 1805 East Bayshore Road.  Additionally, he was convicted of shooting another person in a separate incident at the same location and inflicting serious bodily injury.  Because of the violent nature of these crimes and Mr. Owen past record of committing violent crimes, he was sentence to 95 years in state prison.  Several of Mr. Jack’s family spoke at the sentencing hearing and requested that he receive a Life sentence for the crime.   

Statement from Chief Pardini:

As the Chief of the East Palo Alto Police Department, I must say that I was disgusted at the video showing the unnecessary force and lack of care and compassion for Mr. George Floyd.  Everything I watched goes completely against the values of the East Palo Alto Police Department and I immediately directed my officers to watch the video.  They were appalled by the cruel and inhumane treatment of Mr. Floyd.  We continue working with our community-based organizations and the youth in the community to carry out our mission statement of providing quality police services, preserving the peace, and establishing a safe environment through mutual respect and trust.

Crime and Arrests:

7/26/2020                              5:55 AM                               164 Abelia Way

Domestic Violence Arrest:

Officers were dispatched to a report of males fighting in the street. Upon arrival, officers discovered a male and female had gotten into an argument. During the argument, the 29-year male suspect struck the female in the face with a cooking pan and fled the scene. Later, the suspect returned, male family members confronted the suspect. The suspect chased one them with hammer and later tried to run them over with a car. The suspect resisted arrest but was safely taken into custody. The officers booked the suspect into county jail on felony domestic violence, felony assault with a deadly weapon, restraining order violation, resisting arrest, and arrest warrants.

7/27/2020                              11:00 AM                       2183 Dumbarton Ave

Restraining Order Violation Arrest:

Officers were dispatched to an argument between a father and son. An inquiry of the 31-year-old son revealed he was restrained person with the father being the protected party in a filed restraining order. The officers contacted the son, safely took him into custody and booked him into county jail for the restraining order violation and illegal possession of a drug pipe.

7/29/2020                              9:26 PM                 1775 East Bayshore Road

Shoplifting Arrest:

Officers were dispatched to the Target store regarding loss prevention detaining a 25-year-old male caught stealing a television and a bike tire inner tube worth approximately $119.00. Loss prevention took the stolen items back from the suspect and officers issued the suspect a ticket with a court date.  He was released at the scene.

7/30/2020                              4:42 PM                        1101 Laurel Avenue

Robbery Report:

Officers were dispatched to an armed robbery and learned an ice cream vendor was walking in the neighborhood when a blue sedan pulled up next to him. Two masked males exited the vehicle and held him at gunpoint. The suspects threatened his life and demanded money. In fear, the victim gave the suspects approximately $200. The suspects got back into the car and fled the scene. One is described as possibly African American and the other as Polynesian. The suspects and associated vehicle remain at large.

7/31/2020                              1:28 AM                1961 East Bayshore Road

Burglary tools and Drug Arrests:

Officers were dispatched to an alarm activation at the Public Storage facility. Officers located a male and female in a vehicle inside the facility. Officer verified the 40-year-old male and 37-year-old female had no legitimate business in the facility. Officers detained both suspects on suspicion of burglary. Officers did an investigation into the matter and later booked both suspects in County Jail for possession of burglary tools, illegal possession of methamphetamine, and illegal possession of a drug pipe.

Beat Meetings:  

Due to concerns related to the spread of the COVID-19 (Corona virus) Beat meetings have been suspended until further notice.  If you are a participant in the monthly Beat meetings, please contact Community Service Officer Elizabeth Lam with any questions, concerns or requests for assistance related to non-urgent issues.  If you need immediate assistance from the police department, please call 9-1-1 for emergencies and (650) 321-1112 for non-emergencies.  To reach CSO Lam, you can call her at (650) 853-5939 or email her at .

Community Resource:  The County of San Mateo facilitates a public notification system to inform community members regarding incidents that may affect them.  The system known as SMC ALERT is an alert notification system used to immediately contact people during urgent or emergency situations. You have the option of setting the alerts to send emergency and non-emergency text and voice messages to a variety of communication options:

  • email accounts
  • cell phones, smartphones, tablets
  • voice messages to landline phones (home & work)

The SMC Alert system is free, but please check your communication plans that incur you charges for service so you can determine if there are any secondary costs associated with you receiving the alerts.

To access the system, please visit https://hsd.smcsheriff.com/smcalert

How to make an anonymous tip to the police:

When providing information to the police, we need specific information about the crime or criminal.  As an example, if you are reporting someone for dealing drugs, we need to know where and when they are selling the drugs, a detailed description of them (white female, blue jeans, red jacket, baseball cap), any description of a vehicle, and any other information you have about the crime.  While I don’t expect you to jeopardize your safety to get this information it is very important for us if we make an arrest.  Not only will your tip provide us with accurate information about the suspect, we are able to serve as a witness to the crime and we can testify in court.  Please use these options for providing an anonymous tip.

You can make an anonymous tip to the police by calling or texting to (650) 409-6792.

Crime Trends:

Theft from cars and homes: Cases of suspects entering cars and residence through unlocked windows or doors when the owners are absent are increasing.  The suspects often search through the car or residence and take small items of value (cash, jewelry, electronic devices) that are easy to sell.  Please lock your car and residence when you leave.  If you want to leave a window ajar for ventilation, it is recommended that you use a locking device to prevent access.  If you notice anyone suspicious loitering in the area, please call us at (650) 321-1112 or 9-1-1 in case of emergency.