Suspicious man flees high school after confrontation - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Suspicious man flees high school after confrontation

SALEM, Ohio - A man was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing after he entered Salem High School on Tuesday morning then fled when school authorities questioned him.

Before the first bell rang, just as students arrived for classes, at approximately 7:20 on Tuesday morning, the principal spotted a man who looked and acted suspicious. The man was standing inside the main entrance to the school.

When asked what he was doing, the man replied that he needed to get to the main office, but  that not where he was headed, says Hank Brock, assistant Principal and dean of students.

"Dr. Shivers observed this individual and he did not stop at the main office," Brock explains. "He continued to go toward the cafeteria area where we have students."

As the man approached the cafeteria, a staff member highly qualified in security, and in the school for just that reason, asked the man for identification and demanded to know why he was in the building.

"The individual refused to stop," Brock says. "Our staff member chased him through the cafeteria out the back doors and then followed him in his truck."

Once staff members made sure that the suspect was out of the building, and that students were safe, they contacted 911, all the while following the suspect until his arrest.

The man, now identified by Salem police as 26-year-old Mark Knight Jr., did not appear to have a weapon and never threatened anyone, but school officials say the former student had no good reason for being there and that's something that won't be tolerated at a time when there are heightened concerns about school security.

"He lied about his intentions here, he lied about his name, he lied about who he was coming to see at one point," Brock says.

Whatever his reason for entering the school, school administrators say new school security measures put in place last August worked.

"The procedures in place worked extremely well," Brock says. "Within 30 seconds, the kid was out of the building."

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