FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – Residents tell Adams News that a man, armed with an AR-15 is again ‘standing guard’ outside Northside High School in Fort Wayne today.
Several stories have followed since NewsChannel 15, WANE-TV broke the news, after getting tips two days ago. Chris Darby reported how Mark Cowan, an Army Veteran and ‘Oath Keeper,’ decided to take up a post guarding the school. He is not on school property and under Indiana law, he is doing nothing wrong. Fort Wayne Community Schools was not involved in his decision and did not ask him to guard the school.
According to the reporting, spokesperson for FWCS, Krista Stockman issued this statement:
“We take the security of our schools very seriously,” the statement reads. “We understand he has a right to be out there, but we do not believe it adds to the safety of our students. At North Side, as at all of our schools, we have security procedures in place. In addition, at North Side, we have armed police officers in the building every day.”
After several social media posts and a quick glance at public court records, it appears Mark Cowan has a recent conviction. He was charged in 2017 with a count of 35-42-2-1(c)(1)/MA: Battery Resulting in Bodily Injury.
While the specifics of the case are not clear, records show that he was charged in July, and a Protection Order was also issued during the weeks leading up to his conviction. According to records, Cowan pleaded guilty to one count of Battery Resulting in Bodily Injury in a plea deal. He was sentenced to 365 days in jail that was suspended. According to Indiana Title 35, this is a misdemeanor.
Cowan confirmed to WPTA ABC 21, that the incident did occur and said he was protecting his grandchildren.
Even under the plea and subsequent conviction, it appears Cowan is within his legal rights to carry a firearm. In Indiana, only a “serious violent felon,” or a person convicted of domestic battery may not possess a firearm in Indiana.
A domestic violence offender can have their right to own a gun legally restored after petitioning a court, but only 5 years after conviction.