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Man fires warning shots amid COVID-19 disagreement

Man fires warning shots amid COVID-19 disagreement
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Businesses and cities across the country are requiring people to wear masks, which some people say infringe upon their individual rights.

USA TODAY

A 29-year-old man was arrested in Miami Beach, Florida, after firing “four warning shots” and telling a mother and her son that they weren’t social distancing in a Miami hotel lobby. The shots didn’t result in any injuries.

A woman and her family, guests at the Crystal Beach Suites Hotel, had checked in earlier in the day on July 27, according to a Miami Beach Police Department report provided by public information officer Ernesto Rodriguez.

The woman told police that she and her son went down to the lobby to wait for her boyfriend. While she was there, as they waited by the lobby elevator, they encountered Douglas Marks, who they did not know.

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“You all need to leave,” Marks told the woman and her son and that “you all aren’t social distancing,” according to a statement she gave to Miami Beach Police. She said she ignored him and took her son to sit on the couch in the lobby but overheard him saying, “Let me take care of them, I have two people not following directions.”

She said she heard Marks repeat “you all need to leave” and then heard gunshots and ran out of the hotel, son in tow. Her son supported his mother’s statements and said that he saw Marks holding a black gun.

Several other witnesses confirmed they saw Marks with the gun and heard multiple shots. USA TODAY has reached out to the Crystal Beach Suites Hotel for comment. 

According to the report, Marks confessed his involvement after being taken to the Miami Beach Criminal Investigations Unit. He claimed the thought he was being followed, told the front desk clerk to call 911 and then fired four warning shots. Hotel surveillance footage confirmed the incident details.

Police then took Marks to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. He was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, firearm use and display while committing a felony and discharge of a firearm in public. He has since posted bail.

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