News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 0721201502
Subject :

Knife-Wielding Man Safely Arrested After Daring Officers to Shoot Him
Contact : Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA -- Police tackled and safely arrested a knife-wielding man after he exhibited bizarre behavior at Stanford Shopping Center, then entered a nearby senior living facility, brandished the weapon at responding officers, and dared officers to shoot him.

On Monday, July 20, 2015, at about 8:04 p.m., an officer at the Stanford Shopping Center at 180 El Camino Real for an unrelated call observed security personnel following a suspect walking off of the shopping center property.  Security reported that the suspect had been throwing things inside the Starbucks coffee shop and may have committed thefts from various other stores at the shopping center.  They asked for police assistance as they followed him to "Vi at Palo Alto," a senior living facility at 620 Sand Hill Road.  The suspect went inside the facility.

A short time later, as officers were preparing to go inside to search for the suspect, the suspect walked out.  Officers gave him commands to stop, but the suspect repeatedly refused and then began to run along the exterior of the building.  As he ran, he pulled out a pocket knife with an exposed 1½-inch blade and brandished it at the police.  Officers surrounded him, so he stopped running and instead started angrily yelling at the police.  Officers ordered him to drop the knife, but he refused and dared them, multiple times, to shoot and kill him.  During this tense standoff, an officer tackled the suspect from behind and disarmed him.  Multiple officers then had to struggle with the suspect until they could safely get him into handcuffs.

The suspect sustained a minor injury to the left side of his forehead, likely as a result of landing on the ground while being tackled.  Paramedics from the Palo Alto Fire Department transported him to a local hospital, where he was medically cleared for incarceration.  No officers were injured during the incident.

The suspect was in possession of a number of items of property that appeared to be from various stores at the shopping center.  Officers are still trying to determine if those items were legitimately purchased, or stolen.  No one inside “Vi at Palo Alto” was a victim of any crime as a result of this incident.

Police booked 47-year-old Martin Robert Shelley of San Jose into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for brandishing and resisting arrest (both misdemeanors).  Officers also added a felony probation violation.  The suspect is on active probation in Santa Clara County stemming from a prior felony conviction of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.  A booking photo of the suspect is attached to this release.

“Our officers were confronted with an armed, belligerent suspect,” said Lieutenant Zach Perron.  “They exercised tremendous restraint under very challenging circumstances.”

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.  Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at or