BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two weeks after he came face to face with a shooter inside a West Baltimore high school and survived two gunshots, a school employee blames failed security measures.
Michael Marks, an school staffer and assistant basketball coach at Frederick Douglass High School said a lack of protocols allowed the accusing gunman to enter the school.
It was a domino effect of failures, Marks said, that allowed the shooter to walk into this school just as easily as anyone could walk into a mall.
He’s pointing to school leaders to ramp up security.
Every step is a challenge for Marks.
“It’s a struggle in the mornings. It’s a struggle in the evenings. It’s a struggle at night,” he said.
Gunfire robbed the long time basketball coach of his ability to move without pain.
“It’s not easy when someone is three feet away from you with a gun,” he said.
Marks was shot twice as he wrestled a gun from away from a man inside the halls of Frederick Douglass High School on Feb. 8.
“If I had to do it over, to protect my kids, I would,” he said. “It’s not easy when someone is three feet away from you with a gun.”
The suspect, 25-year-old Neal Davis, now faces charges in connection with the shooting.
Police said he’d been kicked off the campus days earlier.
The president of the schools police union said Davis returned on Feb. 8 armed, angry and with a motive.
“He was determined to kill a staffer at this building,” Sgt. Clyde Boatwright, the police union president.
Charging documents allege Davis wanted revenge on Marks for disciplining his sister who is a student at the school.
But Marks believed he wouldn’t have been the only target.
His attorney said that day school security measures failed everyone inside.
There was no security in sight. No one checked him into the office,” said Mark’s attorney J Wyndal Gordon.
Gordon said Davis was able to walk into the school. No one scanned his ID. There were no metal detectors or hall monitors at the door.
“Baltimore City Public Schools, it’s like out of control,” said Marks, disappointed in schools protocols. “Now, they’re taking the stuff from the streets and bringing it into the schools, and it’s not as safe as it should be.”
When the confrontation started unarmed school resource officers ran away.
“As a part of that, my client took two bullets for Baltimore City Public Schools,” Gordon added.
They are now asking school leaders to reconsider arming school officers and to ramp up security overall.
In a statement to WJZ, a city schools’ spokesperson said, “Baltimore City Public Schools wishes Mr. Marks well as he continues to recover. However, city schools unequivocally disagrees with remarks made at a news conference today about events that took place at Frederick Douglass High School on February 8, 2019. Because the incident remains under investigation, the district will not be making any further comments at this time.”
Marks said it was coincidence that he was the one to stop Davis inside the school.
At the time he did not know Davis was looking for him.
He just noticed unusual behavior, he said, and took action.