Transient Gets 8 Years For Violent Downtown Palo Alto Attack on Cop

Ryan Goodson pleaded no contest today to the February attack.

Booking photo of Ryan Goodson released Feb. 7 by the Palo Alto Police Department.
Booking photo of Ryan Goodson released Feb. 7 by the Palo Alto Police Department.
A 34-year-old transient will serve eight years in prison for a daytime downtown Palo Alto attack during which he disarmed a desperately struggling police officer - and pointed the weapon at him, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Ryan Goodson, originally booked as a Fresno man, pleaded no contest today to brandishing a firearm at a peace officer, removing an officer’s firearm, and battery on a peace officer, officials said. 

“This was a man attacking an officer and brandishing the officer’s gun on a Thursday afternoon in downtown Palo Alto,’’ prosecutor Victoria Robinson said. 
“It was a situation that could have gone so tragically wrong.”  

On February 6, the Palo Alto Police Department received multiple calls about a suspicious man, including a report that he had just leaped from a closed hookah shop through its front plate glass window.  

The first call was made at about 2:50 p.m. reporting a suspect was in the backyard of a home in the 200 block of Emerson Street. Two other calls were made at about 2:55 p.m. about a possible burglary in progress at The Hookah Spot, at 235 University Ave., police said. 

One of the callers reported seeing the suspect jump through a glass window of The Hookah Spot, which was closed. 

The responding officer spotted the suspect, who was bleeding from a cut to the head, walking west on Lytton Avenue, near Emerson Street. When the officer attempted to stop the suspect, identified as Goodson, he was attacked-- and briefly disarmed, according to police reports.

"When the officer directed him to stop, the suspect immediately attacked the officer, and the two began struggling on the sidewalk," Palo Alto Police Sgt. Kara Apple said in a press statement.  "During the course of the struggle, the suspect was able to physically separate the officer’s holstered firearm from his duty belt."

As the struggle continued, Goodson allegedly pulled the officer's holstered firearm and pointed it at him "...  but was unable to remove the weapon from the holster, so it would not fire despite him attempting to access the trigger."

Meanwhile, while Goodson was attempting to access the trigger of the officer's Glock 22 .40-caliber gun, the officer got up and tackled him to the ground-- getting bit on the shoulder and slamming his head on an electrical box in the process, according to Apple.

As numerous Palo Alto officers quickly responded to the chaotic scene, Goodson hurled the loaded Glock 22 away, police said.

He struggled violently during the arrest, injuring another officer before he was finally subdued, police said.  

As part of his plea, Goodson also admitted a prior conviction for assault with a deadly weapon, officials said. 

Goodson is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Diane Northway on May 8.  


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