By Kathy Jefcoats
JONESBORO — A Stockbridge man was "off the chain" in November when he shot at four Clayton County police officers during a custody exchange in Morrow, a detective testified Thursday morning.
Detective Ashley Melvin said Marquis Harris fired at the officers who were standing within 5 feet of him at a car dealership Nov. 10. When they returned fire, hitting him and causing him to fall, Melvin said Harris continued shooting at them from the ground.
One of the officers rendered first aid to Harris, saving his life, said Melvin.
Still recovering from the shooting, Harris was wheeled into Clayton County Magistrate Court Thursday for a preliminary hearing on multiple charges of aggravated assault on a police officer and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He's being held without bond in the Clayton County Jail.
Magistrate Judge Tammi Long Hayward found enough evidence to bind over the charges to grand jury.
Under direct-examination by Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson, Melvin described Harris as being out of control, homicidal and suicidal. Harris had arranged to meet his ex-wife, Ikiya Celestine Glover, to return their daughter, 8, after a two-day visit with him.
Glover was immediately concerned by Harris' behavior, said Melvin.
"He told her, 'I will kill you,'" he said. "He told her to come get the child but she was afraid to meet him alone and called Morrow police to meet her at Southlake Mall. It was her belief he was somewhere watching her and he knew she was with the police officers."
Because Glover is a Macon police officer, Melvin said Harris accused her and the other officers of being "Team Blue" and of conspiring against him. Harris waited at QT for Glover to arrive to pick up the child but walked to Pars Cars when four Clayton County police officers approached him to talk to him.
"He walked away despite verbal commands to stop," said Melvin. "He said, 'Shoot me, shoot the (expletive) out of me. Tell my kids I love them. I'm ready to die.'"
Melvin said officers tried to calm him down but he kept saying he was ready to die. The encounter, recorded on dash cameras, lasted about a minute or so, he said. Finally, an officer told Harris he was under arrest and pointed a stun gun at him.
"Mr. Harris turned to conceal himself and pulled a semi-automatic handgun from his waistband and began firing at the officers," said Melvin. "They were within 5 feet of him. He aimed directly at the officers."
In a dramatic demonstration, Lawson had Melvin portray Harris and four officers to represent the four who were there that day to show how close Harris was to them when he began firing. Somehow, none of the officers were hit.
When an officer fired the stun gun, Harris went down to the ground but continued shooting, said Melvin. At least 40 rounds were fired during the shootout, he said. Harris' most serious wound was to his femoral artery, said Melvin.
"Officer (Waymando) Brown immediately began first aid, applied a tourniquet and saved his life," he said. "This was one of the officers he'd been firing at."
Defense attorney Steve Frey asked Melvin why Harris was so angry and what might have led up to the violence outburst but Lawson objected.
"It doesn't matter, it's irrelevant," she said.
Frey also argued that Harris was not threatening.
"At best, it's a conclusion," he said. "What he said isn't a threat, it's belligerent and not good dinner conversation but not a threat."
Frey said he will file a motion for bond later.