MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A high school football coach says his near brush with death is still sinking in.
Assistant Coach Marcus "Doc" Holliday came face to face with the barrel of a gun during practice last Monday, when his simple request sparked rage in 16-year-old Marquette Wallace.
"I said,'Tank, you need to put that white shirt on, take that red shirt off,' " said Holliday.
Red shirts aren't allowed at Douglass High School because they can be a sign of gang affiliation.
"It was at this time he grabbed his pistol, cocked it and pointed at me," the coach said. "It was then, I was like, 'Son, I can't believe you're going to pull a gun on me. I've been working with you.' "
Holliday tried to reason with Wallace, a student who he says had come so far during the last school year, when he had to cope with his mother's death.
The school's athletic director, Ted Anderson, walked over and put himself in front of the gun.
"At that time, the young man was still cursing and yelling and agitated," said Holliday. "He had lowered the gun. When Coach Anderson came back over, he raised it again."
He said Wallace was yelling, "I'll kill this, I'll kill this...I'll kill him, I'll kill him."
Holliday says Anderson's interaction with the student is what kept Wallace from pulling the trigger.
"As angry as he was, I think the way Coach Anderson was looking him and connecting with him, and saying, 'Look son, this is not what you want to do, Tank - this is not what you want to do," Holliday said.
Wallace walked away.
After being held at gunpoint, Holliday wrestled for hours with whether to file a police report.
He knew the report would change the life of his student with so much potential, but in the end, he knew calling the police was his only choice.
Police found and arrested Wallace the following afternoon.
Now the minor is faced with aggravated assault and carrying a weapon on school property.
"He had an opportunity to get a college scholarship playing sports. He had that potential," said Holliday, who hopes Wallace learned a lesson that will save his life or someone else's.
Wallace is being held without bond at the juvenile detention center.