Homeless man entered Volusia County classroom with knife to 'test school's security,' deputies say

Volusia County school staff will be getting more training after deputies say a homeless man got onto campus

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Volusia County deputies and school officials are trying to figure out how a 51-year-old homeless man who they believe was under the influence of alcohol was able to walk into a classroom with a knife while it was in session.

Deputies said the incident took place Friday when Derek Marlowe walked into Spruce Creek High School and sat down in a classroom full of students after riding his bike onto campus.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood said procedures were not followed, claiming that school officials are more worried about calling a Code Red and causing a media frenzy than they are about doing what needs to be done.

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"They need to understand there is a reason why these things are in place," said Chitwood. "Stop worrying about the perception if we call a Code Red."

According to the arrest report, Marlow appeared belligerent and said he entered the classroom to "test the school's security." The report said Marlow accessed the classroom after a student didn't shut the door all the way, preventing it from locking.

The school's principal, Dr. Todd Sparger, said the school is evaluating the situation and its response. School staff will now get more training and move the school guard's station to the center of campus.

Volusia County interim Superintendent Tim Egnor said that internal fencing will also be added, with speed bumps placed by a gate to help decide which doors need to be locked and which need to be monitored.

Egnor also added that a full investigation will be launched into how the breach happened.

Although Marlowe is 51, Sparger said there was some uncertainty about whether he was a student or not when it came to calling a Code Red.

Marlowe's criminal record includes arrests for drug possession and battery. He faces charges of trespassing on school grounds, campus disruption and disorderly conduct for this incident.

You can view bodycam footage of the arrest below.

Spruce Creek High trespasser

On Friday, a trespasser made it on campus at Spruce Creek High School and entered a classroom while class was in session. Derek Marlowe was taken into custody and charged with trespassing on school grounds, campus disruption and disorderly conduct. The School District is reviewing the multiple lapses in campus security that allowed Marlowe to trespass on school grounds. The school resource deputy responded immediately when he was alerted of Marlowe’s presence in the school.

Posted by Volusia Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, October 1, 2019