Gilroy Man Arrested on DUI, Gun Charges Left Home Booby-trapped, says DA

Markus Beck, a 46-year-old German national who lives in Gilroy, has been charged with multiple counts in relation to a recent crime spree that includes a suspected effort to rig his home near Luigi Aprea Elementary School as “an explosive booby trap” by filling it with natural gas, according to authorities.

Parents of children who attend the school on Calle Del Ray have been sharply critical of Luigi Aprea and Gilroy Unified School District staff due to the danger that Beck allegedly presented to the campus days before his Feb. 28 arrest on suspicion of DUI, possession of firearms and other crimes. Gilroy Police had even contacted Beck at his home on Feb. 26, after the school reported that he entered the campus and loitered around its perimeter despite being told by Luigi Aprea staff to leave.

Shortly after his Feb. 28 arrest, officers executing a search warrant learned that Beck had allowed propane gas to build up inside his Mockingbird Lane residence—resulting in an evacuation of the area including the nearby school, according to authorities.

Beck’s home “was heavily saturated with propane gas from the kitchen stove” when officers entered, but the residence did not explode, said the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. No one was injured in the list of Beck’s alleged crimes.

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. Upon arrival, officers found that the vehicle had collided with a parked car and sideswiped another vehicle.

The reckless driver, later identified as Beck, was located a short distance away still seated inside his BMW, police said. While speaking with Beck, officers found a loaded firearm at his feet in the vehicle and a loaded “AR-15 style rifle” in the trunk.

Both firearms were registered to Beck, police said.

Police said Beck, a software engineer, was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision. He was arrested on suspicion of 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 someone he thought worked on the campus. School staff asked Beck to leave, in accordance with GUSD protocols, police said.

Beck left the office, but continued to loiter 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.

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 stove had been emitting natural gas within the residence, “posing a significant risk of fire or explosion,” Gilroy Police said.

Officers were nauseated by the smell of the gas when they entered the home, and observed that the oven’s unlit burners were on high.

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.

Investigators also found multiple cell phones strewn around the home, in a possible effort to remotely ignite the gas-filled house, according to the DA’s office. The home’s chimneys and fireplace were plugged.

“I am so thankful that the Gilroy Police stopped this incredibly dangerous behavior before anyone was badly hurt or killed,” DA Jeff Rosen said. “We will hold this defendant accountable for the damage and dangerous behavior. The Gilroy community is shaken, and we are there to help.”

Beck faces numerous weapons charges in Santa Clara County Superior Court, authorities said. The investigation is ongoing, and the charges against Beck may be amended by his next court date, which is scheduled as a plea hearing on April 10 at the South County Courthouse.

Beck remains in custody at the county jail with no bail.

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 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 return a phone call.

The DA’s Office added it is working closely with City of Gilroy and GUSD officials. In addition, the Mariposas Resiliency Center is providing resources to anyone affected by the crimes, including tips on Talking to Children After a Tragedy ( Anyone in need of further support can contact the Resiliency Center at 408.209.8356 or [email protected].


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