THIS Canton police officer is extremely thankful for defense-minded citizens
by Chad D. Baus
The City of Canton made national news earlier this year after Officer Daniel Harless threatened to "execute" a concealed handgun license holder at a traffic stop. It was clear from Harless' profanity-laced tirade, which was caught on dash cam video, that the officer doesn't support citizens having the kind of mind-set that might lead them to obtain a concealed handgun license.
But this month, a different Canton police office is thanking a citizen for having just that type of mind-set - and for saving his life.
According to The Canton Repository, Police Officer Tim Marks was being severly beaten by an attacker wielding the officer's own metal baton when a defense-minded citizen came to his aide:
From the article:
He kept swinging, blow after blow connecting with the officer's body as blood flowed from Marks' nose and mouth and his thoughts began to fade. Marks remembers feeling sleepy and his brain screaming, "I need help now! I need help now!"
His gun was out of reach, but Marks had the presence of mind to pull his assailant as close as possible to make the blows less intense, something he learned in self-defense training.
He figured he might wake up in the intensive care unit in a month.
"I'm praying for help," Marks said of the moment. "I've got fear, anger, adrenaline. I'm seeing a hospital, a grave stone. This is how it ends for me."
As he felt himself begin to fade, he said, "out of nowhere, someone tackles this dude. Out of nowhere!"
The article goes on to describe the reason Marks had detained his attacker in the first place, before giving details of the attack:
Marks said he took the man by the elbow to lead him to his cruiser. The man turned away, again.
"This time he wasn't walking away, he was winding up," Marks said.
A stunning, hard blow collided with Marks' jaw. The punch sent the officer staggering backward.
Marks pulled out his Taser and fired it.
"He looked down at the probes in his chest and said, 'It's on, (expletive)!' I knew I was in trouble, oh my God, I'm in trouble."
The officer threw his Taser to the ground as the man landed a second blow to his nose, breaking it and creating the puddles of blood that would be evident even later that day.
Marks yelled into his shoulder radio for help. He then pulled out his metal baton and extended it. He remembers swinging and connecting solidly with the man's head and face.
It did not faze him.
"I hit him 12 to 15 times, and he is not going down. I thought, 'I'm going to have to shoot this guy. I'm going to have to kill him.'"
...Marks could see and feel blood pouring from his nose. He was physically tired from swinging his baton at this man who seemed to feel no pain or fatigue. Deadly force seemed his only option.
Before he could reach for his gun, Marks said, the man landed one more solid punch to his mouth. It left him dazed and disoriented.
He reflexively brought a hand up to his face and, in that moment, the man picked him up and body slammed him to the ground. The man then pinned Marks' right arm to the ground and began beating the officer with his own baton.
Marks can still recall men standing on a corner watching. He remembers some leaning against a building, smoking cigars.
Then — out of nowhere, or so it seemed — came help.
The Repository also gives details about the man who came to Marks' aide, Tom Bowman, a salesman and married father of two teenage daughters.
His "quiet part of the neighborhood," he said, is mostly senior citizens in their 80s and 90s. There are two schools and a church nearby. He’s always felt safe, even though he is cautious, often lecturing his daughters to be cautious as well.
He had never seen or heard of anything like the scene he witnessed Dec. 3.
"I was doing yard clean-up for an hour," said Bowman, who was using a gas leaf blower in the yard of a vacant home next to his. When he turned off the blower, he heard loud voices from about a block away.
When he looked, he saw the two men face-to-face, arguing, beside the park at Heritage Christian School. At first, he didn’t realize one was an officer.
When he saw the stun gun, he knew.
When he saw the first punch, he ran toward them. It may have taken him 20 to 30 seconds to get there.
To Marks, those seconds felt like minutes.
Bowman came up behind the assailant. He wrapped his arms around the man, took him to the ground and got on top of him so Marks could get away.
A 6-foot-2, 280-pound trained Marine, Bowman is an imposing figure. Still, he said, "It took everything I had to get him off (Marks)."
Marks was on his hands and knees crawling to Bowman as he tried to hold down the man. Marks wrestled away the baton and hit the man with it twice. The blows, again, didn't faze or calm man.
Marks and Bowman struggled to handcuff the man. Bowman sat on him while Marks lay bleeding on an embankment.
The rest was a blur for both men, as police cars swarmed the street.
The article also gives details about the criminal, 52 year-old Tab O. Hannon, who has a history of assault and domestic violence, including a 2003 incident in which he assaulted, coincidentally, one of the very police officers who eventually came to Marks' aide.
The report says that Marks will be off duty for at least another week while he recovers from his injuries, including a possible broken jaw, broken nose, a torn rotator cuff and a sore and bruised body.
Again, from the article:
A bruised and sore Tim Marks opened his newspaper Dec. 5 and read a story about himself, an unnamed Canton police officer who had been brutally attacked.
The brief Repository story, taken mostly from a police report, said a bystander "probably saved the officer's life."
That was not good enough for Marks.
"There's no probably. He did. This guy saved my life, and I want people to know it," he said. "There are still people out there who will put themselves in harm's way to help someone."
Indeed there are. In fact, there are more than 250,000 concealed handgun licensees in the state of Ohio (you know, the people about whom Marks' fellow officer Daniel Harless said "People like you don't deserve to f#$%g move throughout public. Period!"), and they are among the kind of people who have the exact kind of mindset Tom Bowman clearly has - a mindset that Canton Police Chief Dean McKimm is praising.
"I don't think [Bowman] realizes what character and courage he displayed when he did what he did. It's great to know there are guys like him out there and they have our backs," McKimm said.
Too bad Daniel Harless doesn't agree.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.