Shoot­ing sus­pect was con­fronting staffer about rel­a­tive, po­lice say

Man was up­set about dis­ci­pline at Dou­glass High

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Colin Camp­bell and Jes­sica An­der­son

The 25-year-old Baltimore man charged in the shoot­ing of a Fred­er­ick Dou­glass High School spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion as­sis­tant on Fri­day had come to the school to con­front the staffer about dis­ci­plin­ing his fam­ily mem­ber who is a stu­dent there, ac­cord­ing to charg­ing doc­u­ments.

Neil Davis is charged with at­tempted first- de­gree mur­der in the shoot­ing of Michael Marks, a 56-year-old for­mer as­sis­tant bas­ket­ball coach. In the charg­ing doc­u­ments, po­lice said Davis asked to speak to Marks then “be­came hos­tile and asked why he was yelling” at his rel­a­tive and opened fire.

The shoot­ing at Dou­glass is the lat­est vi­o­lent in­ci­dent in which Davis has been charged, ac­cord­ing to po­lice and court records. In ad­di­tion to Fri­day’s school shoot­ing, Davis was charged Fri­day in the fa­tal Nov. 10 shoot­ing of his cousin, Darelle

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Yancey, also 25, who was found by of­fi­cers shot in the 4600 block of York Road in North Baltimore.

Po­lice al­ready had linked Davis to Yancey’s killing, and rushed bal­lis­tics test­ing on the gun used in the Dou­glass shoot­ing. The bal­lis­tics matched.

Charg­ing doc­u­ments also show Davis pre­vi­ously served a three-year sen­tence for slash­ing his 8-year-old cousin’s throat in Jan­uary 2015.

“He shouldn’t have been out here af­ter the first time,” said Sherell Yancey, the mother of the 8-year-old and Darelle Yancey. “Hope­fully jus­tice will be fi­nally served,” she said on Mon­day at her East Baltimore home.

She said her son did not de­serve what hap­pened to him. Yancey also said her daugh­ter is still strug­gling with her at­tack and the loss of her older brother.

At a hear­ing Mon­day morn­ing re­lated to the lat­est charges against Davis, a judge or­dered him held with­out bail. Davis did not have an at­tor­ney listed in on­line court records re­lated to the Nov. 10 homi­cide or Fri­day’s shoot­ing at Dou­glass.

Shan­non Grif­fin, Davis’ mother, said she did not con­done the shoot­ing at Dou­glass, but said the in­ci­dent un­folded af­ter the fam­ily com­plained re­peat­edly to school staff about how Marks treated their rel­a­tive.

“This has been on­go­ing and noth­ing has been done. Ev­ery­thing kept get­ting swept un­der the car­pet,” Grif­fin said of the fam­ily’s con­cerns. “It didn’t just ran­domly hap­pen, it was build­ing up.”

Marks, who had been shot twice in the right torso, was taken to the Mary­land Shock Trauma Cen­ter for treat­ment. He could not be reached for com­ment Mon­day.

Be­fore the shoot­ing at Dou­glass, a Baltimore School Po­lice of­fi­cer had been asked to help a prin­ci­pal deesca­late an ar­gu­ment be­tween Davis’ rel­a­tive and an­other stu­dent, charg­ing doc­u­ments said.

While the stu­dents were still meet­ing in­side the school of­fice, the pop of gun­shots came from the school’s main en­trance nearby.

“He has a gun,” Marks told the re­spond­ing of­fi­cer, while still strug­gling to dis­arm Davis. “I think I may have been shot.”

Davis had come into the school ask­ing for “Coach Marks,” which is how­stu­dents re­fer to the spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion as­sis­tant, po­lice said. When Marks iden­ti­fied him­self, Davis “be­came hos­tile and asked why he was yelling” at his rel­a­tive, Marks told po­lice.

“Mr. Marks tried to ex­plain that he was dis­ci­plin­ing [the stu­dent] for be­ing in the hall­ways dur­ing class and try­ing to fight other stu­dents,” the charg­ing doc­u­ments said.

“All the while Mr. Davis con­tin­ued to fire the hand­gun,” the re­port said. “Mr. Marks was struck a sec­ond time in his right torso area be­fore suc­cess­fully dis­arm­ing Mr. Davis and hold­ing him un­til of­fi­cers could take him into cus­tody.”

Af­ter Davis was de­tained, po­lice found a .40 cal­iber hand­gun on the floor and five shell cas­ings in­side the school’s main en­trance.

Davis faces more than a dozen charges, in­clud­ing at­tempted mur­der, as­sault and sev­eral gun vi­o­la­tions, in the in­ci­dent.

Ma­ri­etta English, pres­i­dent of the Baltimore Teach­ers Union, praised Marks for dis­arm­ing the sus­pect — de­spite al­ready hav­ing been shot — be­fore any­one else could be hurt.

“Mr. Marks is a hero, I would say, be­cause it could have been worse,” she said.

The teach­ers’ union al­ready had con­vened a school safety task force af­ter three in­ci­dents of stu­dents as­sault­ing teach­ers in the fall.

But Fri­day’s shoot­ing at Dou­glass, she said, high­lighted a sep­a­rate prob­lem — some­times fam­ily mem­bers of dis­ci­plined stu­dents come to the school, un­der­mine the au­thor­ity of school of­fi­cials, and, in some cases, take mat­ters into their own hands.

“We have had in­ci­dents of par­ents com­ing to school who have at­tacked ad­min­is­tra­tors,” English said. “We haven’t had as many at­tacks on teach­ers as ad­min­is­tra­tors. But it does hap­pen.”

The teach­ers’ union pres­i­dent said she is gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion still about the shoot­ing. She plans to go to the school Tues­day, once classes re­sume, to of­fer the staff what­ever as­sis­tance she can.

No teacher or other staff mem­ber should have to worry about whether a nor­mal in­ter­ac­tion with a stu­dent will end in that child’s fam­ily mem­ber bring­ing a gun to school, English said.

“It was wrong for him to come into that build­ing with a weapon to in­flict harm on a staff mem­ber who just gave a di­rec­tion,” she said. “We should not be fear­ing that.”

No stu­dents were in­jured dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

Af­ter Davis’ ar­rest in the school shoot­ing, po­lice said, de­tec­tives quickly charged him with Yancey’s killing.

De­tec­tives in­ter­viewed wit­nesses and re­viewed mul­ti­ple sur­veil­lance cam­era sys­tems nearby that con­nected Davis with that shoot­ing, the charg­ing doc­u­ments said. Wit­nesses told po­lice they had seen Yancey walk­ing with only one other man when then heard a “pop” and saw Yancey fall to the ground. Wit­nesses said the sus­pect had been wear­ing a blue book bag, jacket and was car­ry­ing a hat, which matched a sus­pect caught on video, po­lice said.

The de­scrip­tion of the sus­pect’s cloth­ing matched cloth­ing Davis wore in pic­tures posted to his Face­book page, po­lice said.

A fam­ily mem­ber who was not iden­ti­fied in the doc­u­ments said Davis shot Yancey out of a de­sire to pro­tect a younger fam­ily mem­ber.

In an ear­lier in­ci­dent in Jan­uary 2015, po­lice said Davis fol­lowed Darelle Yancey’s younger three sib­lings as they walked from their home to school, ask­ing where he could find Darelle Yancey, but his sib­lings told Davis they did not know where to find their old­est brother. The sib­lings told po­lice Davis then grabbed the lit­tle girl and cut her across the neck.

Davis was charged with at­tempted first­de­gree mur­der and other of­fenses, and was con­victed of sec­ond-de­gree as­sault and deadly weapon with in­tent to in­jure. He was sen­tenced to three years in Jan­uary 2015.

ULYSSES MUÑOZ/BALTIMORE SUN

Stu­dents at Fred­er­ick Dou­glass High School were evac­u­ated af­ter a 56-year-old staffer was shot in­side Fri­day af­ter­noon.

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