Police: Downtown incidents on Veterans Day lead to arrest, weapon confiscation

Reports of harassment at Sunny Dunes Starbucks, forced to close its interior lobby in October, also continue, with police encouraging the company to file a restraining order.

Palm Springs police said Tuesday a frightening scene that played out during the city’s annual Veterans Day Parade on November 11, and subsequent reports of shots fired Downtown, were the result of a fight between area youth.

The incident occurred at approximately 4 PM, when officers in the 100 block of North Palm Canyon Drive began chasing a suspicious person during the parade. Officers pursued the suspect across the parade route, alarming many gathered to watch the event.

“A lot of people said this seemed like a scene out of a movie,” Palm Springs Police Department Sgt. Frank Guarino said Tuesday morning during a Main Street Palm Springs meeting, adding that officers who got into a physical confrontation with the subject suffered minor injuries and that the suspect, a juvenile, was placed under arrest.

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That incident was just one of several on what amounted to a busy Thursday evening for police, Guarino reported. Officers were later called to the 200 block of North Palm Canyon for reports of shots fired at 6:40 PM, and then to a restaurant in the 100 block of North Palm Canyon Drive at 8:15 PM where another set of juveniles were reportedly harassing an employee. The incidents are believed to be related to a dispute between area youth.

Guarino said shell casings were discovered during the investigation of shots fired, and a gun was taken from a juvenile during the alleged harassment incident. A window was also reportedly shot out of a nearby vehicle during the shots fired incident.

Another report of shots fired, in the 1500 block of East San Rafael Drive, was reported later that evening. During that incident, Guarino said, a suspect shot at a passing vehicle. There are frequent reports of shots fired in the area.

“We are continually investigating all the shots fired calls up in the north end of our city,” Guarino said. “Unfortunately a lot of that happens daily.”

Another incident involving the harassment of an employee — this one at the Starbucks in the 600 block of South Palm Canyon Drive — could lead to a restraining order against a member of the city’s homeless community.

Guarino said the city’s closure of nearby Baristo Park, nicknamed “Heroin Park” by some in the community, has caused additional homeless individuals to spread out to the Sunny Dunes neighborhood where the coffee shop is located. Its interior lobby has been closed since early October after multiple reports of run-ins with homeless individuals.

One employee in particular has been targeted by a homeless individual, Guarino said, leading to the employee fearing to come to work. Guarino said police have been speaking with Starbucks management in hopes the company will pursue a restraining order against the person reportedly harassing the employee.

“We bring the suggestions up to the employers,” he said, adding that due to the size of Starbucks, “a lot of time that suggestion has to go up through corporate and the company’s legal team.”


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