Arrests made in attack on SF private detective with help from his own camera

Well-known figure Jack Palladino taken off life support, ‘not expected to survive’

The storied San Francisco private detective who was gravely injured in a struggle over his camera outside his home in the Haight was “instrumental” in solving his own case, his family said Sunday.

Private detective Jack Palladino took photographs during the attempted robbery on Thursday that helped police identify two suspects in connection with his attack, according to his wife Sandra Sutherland.

“He would have been thrilled,” Sutherland told the San Francisco Examiner. “He loves catching bad guys.”

Palladino, who is known for taking on high-profile clients from Bill Clinton to Harvey Weinstein, suffered a major head injury and is not expected to survive, his family said. Police confirmed the arrests of Lawrence Thomas, 24, of Pittsburg and Tyjone Flournoy, 23, of San Francisco, on Sunday.

The attempted robbery unfolded when Palladino, 76, left his house on Page Street near Masonic Avenue with his camera at around 4:51 p.m. Thursday, according to police and his family.

While Palladino often photographed the neighborhood as a hobby, Sutherland said her husband also snapped pictures of people engaged in criminal activity.

She said Palladino “must have seen or heard something” because he rushed out the front door without his phone or wallet and left his glasses on the porch.

“It was the kind of thing that he would do,” Sutherland said.

Witnesses saw Palladino engage in a struggle with a suspect who grabbed his camera from the passenger seat of a vehicle, according to police and his family.

Palladino held onto his camera and was pulled to the ground when the car sped away.

He was taken to a hospital in life-threatening condition and taken off life support Sunday.

His stepson, Nick Chapman, said Palladino was alive as of Sunday afternoon but “not expected to last more than another day.”

Police later recovered the camera and its contents.

Thomas and Flournoy have both been booked into County Jail on suspicion of various charges including assault, attempted robbery and kidnapping in connection with the attack, jail records show.

Thomas was arrested on Friday near Middle Point Road and Hare Street, while Flournoy was arrested Saturday in Reno, Nevada, according to police.

Last November, Flournoy was arrested but not charged in connection with the fatal shooting of 33-year-old Ronisha Cook in the Tenderloin.

Flournoy was among four suspects arrested in the case, two of whom have been charged with murder, the Examiner previously reported.

District Attorney Chesa Boudin said Flournoy was not the shooter, but a passenger in a car with the person who shot and killed Cook. His office filed murder charges against the driver and the shooter.

“Our hearts go out to the Palladino family for their loss,” Boudin told the Examiner on Sunday. “Jack Palladino served this community for decades; this is truly also a loss to all of San Francisco. We also want to thank the police for making arrests so quickly.”

Palladino’s family said they did not want the attack to be used against Boudin, who has come under criticism recently for declining to charge suspects who are later arrested in other crimes.

Palladino voted for Boudin and is a supporter of criminal justice reform, his family said.

“I dislike the pile-on on Chesa Boudin,” Sutherland said. “It seems like a cheap shot, you know.”

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