David Charles Cirner

David Charles Cirner. (Palo Alto Police Dept. photo)

A Palo Alto, Calif., man was arrested last month in connection with the armed robbery of an Indian man in a parking lot.

Police said June 9 that David Charles Cirner, 52, was arrested after witnesses reported an in-progress battery at about 7 p.m. May 27 near the Palo Alto transit center on University Avenue.

According to police, the suspect was in his 2015 black Toyota Camry on Urban Lane, just south of University Circle, when an Indian man in his 40s pulled up behind the Camry with his 2005 Ford Crown Victoria taxi cab.

The victim, whose identity was withheld, asked the suspect, who was reportedly parked in two spots, if he could move his car into one parking spot so he could park.

The victim told police that the suspect began yelling racist statements at him. After the Indian man went back into his car, the suspect attempted to punch him while shouting racial epithets.

The suspect landed one punch to the victim's jaw and grabbed his cellphone out of the taxi driver's hand before throwing it at the victim's head.

The victim complained of jaw pain but did not need medical attention.

Police said the suspect then backed into the cab twice while backing out of the parking spot before speeding off westbound on University Circle, jumping a curb in the process.

A witness provided police with a description and license plate of the suspect's car and an officer found it shortly after, arresting Cirner on suspicion of felony robbery, hate crimes and hit-and-run.

Anyone with additional information on the incident is asked to call Palo Alto police at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be made by emailing paloalto@tipnow.org or by calling or texting (650) 383-8984.

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