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Two men have been nabbed in connection to the attempted robbery that left famed San Francisco private investigator Jack Palladino fighting for his life – and Palladino himself helped to make the breakthrough in the case, police and family said.
Authorities on Sunday identified the suspects in the Jan. 28 attack as 24-year-old Lawrence Thomas of Pittsburg, and Tyjone Flournoy, 23, of San Francisco.
They were both arrested on suspicion attempted robbery, aggravated kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy, false imprisonment and elder abuse, as well as an enhancement for allegedly causing great bodily injury to Palladino, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Police made the arrests in the case after photographs were recovered from Palladino’s camera that the suspects tried to steal.
Palladino, who worked on high-profile cases including the Jonestown mass suicides to celebrity and political scandals involving clients like former President Bill Clinton and Harvey Weinstein, had grabbed his camera and stepped outside the house he shares with his wife to take pictures just before the violence.
“He went out to take photographs of people who were doing mischief in the neighborhood,” Palladino’s wife and fellow detective Sandra Sutherland told the newspaper.
As Palladino was snapping shots outside, the suspects pulled up in a car and one tried to steal his camera, according to his family.
“They gunned him down [with the car] and tried to get the camera, which they failed to do,” Sutherland said, adding, “Because Jack wouldn’t let go.”
Palladino was dragged and he fell and his hit head on the pavement before falling unconscious, his stepson, Nick Chapman told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The private detective was hospitalized and underwent surgery after suffering the head injury. Palladino, who remained unconscious, was taken off life support and was breathing on his own, but he was not expected to survive, Sutherland said.
Sutherland said she did not know what her husband’s photos show, but cops “found that evidence very useful in apprehending these two people.”
Though Palladino remained unconscious, she delivered him the good news.
“I said, ‘Guess what, Jack, they got the bastards, and it was all your doing,’” Sutherland told the news outlet.
“Jack’s a hard person to keep down,” she said. “But I really think this is it.”
Prior to the attack, Palladino was wrapping up one final case before joining his wife in retirement, Chapman said.
Since the 1980s, Palladino and his wife conducted investigations out of their Victorian home in the city’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.
Their celebrity clients have included Don Johnson, Kevin Costner, Robin Williams, Huey Newton and Snoop Dogg.
Palladino was hired by Clinton during his 1992 campaign to help discredit women claiming extramarital affairs with him. Courtney Love once hired Palladino to talk to journalists investigating whether she played a role in the 1994 death of her husband, rock star Kurt Cobain.
His career took off even before he graduated from University of California, Berkeley’s law school when the family of Patty Hearst hired him to help in investigating her 1974 kidnapping by the Symbionese Liberation Party.
With Post wires
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