New charges after Douglass shooting
Ballistic evidence connects Neil Davis to a homicide committed in November
A 25-year-old man charged in Friday’s shooting at Frederick Douglass High School has also been charged in connection with a homicide last November, according to the Baltimore Police Department.
Neil Davis was charged with attempted first-degree murder and firearm violations in Friday’s shooting, which left a 56-yearold school employee in serious condition.
Davis had already been in detectives’ sights before the Douglass shooting, and he was also linked to the killing Nov. 10 of Darelle Yancey, according to police. Yancey, 25, was shot and killed in the 4600 block of York Road, police said.
Matt Jablow, a police spokesman, said ballistics evidence collected at the scene of the school shooting was part of the investigation that led to the murder charge in the November case. He confirmed Saturday that homicide detectives had already identified Davis as a suspect in the November case and were in the process of drafting a search warrant for his home when the shooting at Douglass occurred.
When detectives heard that Davis had been arrested in the school shooting and that officers had taken a semi-automatic handgun off of him, they requested that the gun be sent for ballistics testing immediately. When the ballistics from the two shootings matched, detectives had another key piece of evidence and brought the case to the state’s attorney’s office, which signed off on the charges, Jablow confirmed.
Davis is being held at Central Booking awaiting a bail hearing, according to police.
An attorney for Davis was not listed in online court records.
Jablow said the department's homicide detectives, shooting detectives and forensics lab all did a “great job” coordinating with each other and connecting the two cases to secure the charges.
"As soon as the new evidence was available yesterday, they were quickly able to put the pieces together," he said.
Melba Saunders, a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office, declined to comment on the case Saturday, calling it an “open and pending matter.”
The victim in Friday’s shooting, identified by city school district officials as Michael Marks, was in serious but stable condition and undergoing treatment Saturday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
No students were injured during the incident.
Efforts to reach Marks — a former assistant coach for boys varsity at Douglass — were unsuccessful.
George Johnson III called Marks a “good guy” who works to make a difference in the lives of kids in the city. Johnson, a teacher who lives in the Belair-Edison neighborhood, said he met Marks playing pick-up games of basketball at Druid Hill Park.
“He has a good relationship with teenagers,” said Johnson, who teaches at an alternative school in Baltimore County.
Having a mentor like Marks is key, especially for young men being raised by single mothers, Johnson said. Marks can help young people think through the consequences of their actions, be a voice of reason and share wisdom. “Guys like him are instrumental,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who has also taught in city schools, said the incident should reignite the debate over allowing school police to carry guns during the school day.
That’s a position for which the president of the school police union, Sgt. Clyde Boatwright, also advocates. The Baltimore school board reaffirmed their position against allowing the school police officers to carry their service weapons during the school day in a unanimous vote last month.
School police can carry guns while patrolling the exterior of a school before and after the school day, but they must store their weapons while classes are in session.