Palo Alto Police Seek Suspect Who Brandished Gun at Stanford Shopping Center During Road Rage Incident

Police in Palo Alto are seeking a man in a road rage incident Sunday when he drove behind a car, brandished a gun and verbally abused the driver and passenger in a shopping center parking lot.

At about 12:10 p.m. Sunday, Palo Alto police received a report of a gun brandishing incident that occurred about 40 minutes before at the Stanford Shopping Center at 180 El Camino Real, according to Lt. Zach Perron.

The victim, a man in his 20s, was the passenger in a car driven by his father, who while driving northbound on El Camino Real from University Avenue at about 11:30 a.m. noticed a car driving erratically and following closely behind them, Perron said.

When they turned into the east parking lot of the Stanford Shopping Center, the vehicle continued to tailgate them and after the victim's father turned to look behind him, he noticed the other driver waving a semi-automatic handgun at him, police said.

The suspect resumed following them and when the victim's vehicle stopped at a stop sign, the suspect drove his car in front of them and got out his car, but the victims did not see the handgun, Perron said.

The suspect then started to yell profanities at them and the victim's father put their car in reverse and drove away. The victim last saw the suspect driving north in the parking lot heading toward Sand Hill Road, according to police.

The victim told officers he had no known interactions with the suspect and did not know why he targeted his father and him in their car, police said.

"It didn't escalate into anything else, but it could have very easily," said Brianda Pacheco, a San Jose resident. "This is a very public place, people come here with their families."

The suspect was described as a Hispanic man, about 25 years old and 5 feet 7 inches tall with a thin build, unshaven and shoulder-length curly hair wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt, according to officers.

The victim described the suspect's car as a late-1990s model four-door Nissan Maxima, police said.

Police are asking the public for help in finding the suspect and urge anyone with information about the incident to call the department's 24-hour dispatch at 650-329-2413.

NBC Bay Area's Terry McSweeney contributed to this report.

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