Gilroy Police arrested a man who had been driving drunk with two loaded firearms in his vehicle early in the morning Feb. 28, authorities said. Earlier in the week, the same suspect, Markus Beck, had been asked to leave the campus of Luigi Aprea Elementary School during class hours, and was even warned by police to stay away from the school. 

After his arrest, officers further learned that a gas leak inside Beck’s home had caused natural gas to build up dangerously inside the Mockingbird Lane residence—resulting in an evacuation of the area including the elementary school on Feb. 28, according to the Gilroy Police Department. 

Markus Beck

Gilroy Police officers responded about 4:25am Feb. 28 to a report of a hit and run accident near Mantelli DRive and Wren Avenue, the Gilroy Police Department said in a press release. Upon arrival, officers found the vehicle had collided with a number of parked cars and fled the scene. 

The driver, later identified as Beck, 46, was located a short distance away still seated inside the vehicle, police said. While speaking with Beck, officers found a loaded firearm in the driver’s compartment of the vehicle and a loaded “AR-15 style rifle” in the trunk. 

Both firearms were registered to Beck, police said. 

Police said Beck was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision. He was arrested on suspicion of multiple charges, including DUI, hit and run and illegal storage of firearms. 

Police also revealed that on Feb. 26—two days before Beck was arrested—he had entered the office of Luigi Aprea Elementary School, 9225 Calle Del Rey, and asked to speak to a female staff member who he thought worked on the campus. School staff asked Beck to leave, in accordance with Gilroy Unified School District protocols, police said. 

Beck left the office, but continued loitering around the perimeter of the school, according to police. School staff again told him to leave, and called Gilroy PD. 

Police officers shortly showed up at Beck’s home, on the 9200 block of Mockingbird Lane, and advised him to stay away from the school, Gilroy Police said. The street where Beck lives is less than a quarter-mile from the Luigi Aprea campus. 

Based on Beck’s behaviors at the school and on the roads, Gilroy Police after his Feb. 28 arrest obtained a gun violence restraining order, allowing officers to seize any additional firearms or ammunition he might have, police said. Officers went to Beck’s home to serve the restraining order and discovered that a gas stove had been emitting natural gas within the residence, “posing a significant risk of fire or explosion,” says the Gilroy Police Department’s press release. 

Police did not say how long the gas had been leaking inside the home. 

The Gilroy Fire Department and PG&E responded and secured the gas leak, police said. The discovery of the gas leak resulted in a lockdown of Luigi Aprea Elementary and the evacuation of nearby homes on Feb. 28. 

Beck was scheduled to be arraigned on multiple charges at 1:30pm March 1 at the San Jose Hall of Justice. The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office is seeking to charge Beck with a total of seven criminal counts, including two felonies. The felony charges include possession of materials with intent to make destructive device or explosive and vandalism (in relation to damage that Beck allegedly caused at the Gilroy Police Department), says the DA’s criminal complaint. 

Beck is also charged with two misdemeanor counts of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle; driving under the influence of alcohol; driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more; and hit and run driving. 

The incidents involving Beck have left some parents of Luigi Aprea students worrying about their children’s safety, and wishing school staff had done more to notify families of any potential danger. 

Brenda Sanfilippo, whose daughter attends Luigi Aprea, said that the school did not inform parents about Beck’s appearance on campus on Feb. 26. Parents didn’t learn about any sort of danger on campus until Feb. 28—when the school sent out a notification about the gas leak, and then another one about Beck’s appearance Feb. 26 at Luigi Aprea.  

School staff seemed to downplay the potential danger in their Feb. 28 correspondence with parents, Sanfilippo said—even though Beck had been arrested that morning, allegedly with loaded firearms in his vehicle. 

Sanfilippo added her daughter has been distraught over the recent lockdown, which significantly disrupted the students’ day. 

“I feel as if the school and district were not transparent with us,” Sanfilippo said. “They did not tell us there had been somebody on campus who should not have been there.” 

Hylary Locsin, whose children are in 2nd and 5th grade at Luigi Aprea, said she did not know about the potential danger to campus until she saw a Gilroy Police post on Facebook about the gas leak on Feb. 28. 

Locsin noted that kids and families had been walking by the area where Beck lives every day—and possibly for several days with an ongoing gas leak and someone with firearms associated with the home. 

“The fact that this person tried to enter the school, peeped in the windows, the police had to tell him to stay away (is that even a real deterrent?) and that same day parents unknowingly had their children leave the school and walk home right past where this man lives and apparently had firearms is shocking,” Locsin wrote in a comment in reply to a Feb. 29 Gilroy Police Department’s Facebook post about Beck’s arrest. “Why weren’t we told more about this?”

Luigi Aprea Elementary School Principal Nicole Black did not immediately return a phone call. 

Previous articleLocal hospitals thrive five years after county purchase
Next articleGilroy girls soccer has best season in 11 years
Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here