Homeless man arrested on suspicion of trespassing on campus

Update: March 24 10:24 p.m. This story was updated to ensure clarity that Irons was arrested on suspicion of trespassing on campus.

A homeless man was arrested on campus Friday, March 16 on suspicion of trespassing multiple times since February. He was released on Sunday and later provoked a restraining order request by El Camino College, campus police say.

“This is the first homeless individual that I’m aware of since I’ve been chief here that has caused us to take this route,” El Camino College Chief of Police Michael Trevis said.

Trevis elaborated on the situation, stating that the man had been allegedly storing personal belongings in the third floor office area of the humanities building.

The location Irons was often found eating in the third floor office area of the humanities building Photo credit: Quinn Buffandeau

“It was believed that he was a student, so they’re trying to accommodate him,” Trevis said.

According to the man in question, Marquis Irons, 39, he was a student enrolled in a swimming class.

“(Police) are failing to recognize me as a student even though (they) know I’m a student and it’s just (their) computer system,” Irons said. “(The system) automatically presumes that every homeless student is an out-of-state resident because we don’t have a physical address to enter where it says residence that is part of California.”

Trevis, however, had a different side to this story.

“He had partially enrolled but had not completed the enrollment process, so I guess somehow during that enrollment, a student ID number came up,” Trevis said, stating that Irons had allegedly used the number to pose as a student in one of the swimming classes.

According to Trevis, when campus police had been called, it was discovered that the man was not a student. Despite being asked to leave each day, he allegedly returned and left his things until he received a notice telling him not to trespass.

When he allegedly trespassed again, campus police arrested him, though he was released two days later due to the Torrance Police Department’s inability to meet the needs of his vegan diet.

“The jail at Torrance could not accommodate the vegan diet. Jails are monitored by the state board of prisons, they oversee all jails and if a prisoner has some kind of special issue or dietary need that they can’t accommodate then one of two things has to happen,” Trevis said. “Either A, transport him to another facility that can or B, if the person was held on a misdemeanor, which was this case, they have the option of citing the person out on a citation, and that’s what they did.”

According to Trevis, Irons’s body language “was starting to bother some of the faculty and staff” in the humanities building.

Trevis added that “(Irons) was starting to be bothersome and in this day and age people are worried about that.”

One faculty member was Evelyn Uyemura, an English as a second language (ESL) teacher who had spoken to Irons on a few occasions.

“He seemed very friendly. He seemed very educated the way he spoke and people were really nice to him,” Uyemura said. “People were saying good morning, he was saying good morning, but I started to get kind of a bad feeling about him because one day I walked by, and he said ‘Oh, you didn’t say good morning to me’ and I’m like ‘okay, good morning’ and then I felt like he was being a little aggressive,” Uyemura said.

Trevis expressed that he did not believe students were in any kind of danger due to Irons.

“He has not exhibited any violent threats (or) made any threats of any sort to anyone here at El Camino College,” Trevis said. “(Because of) his non verbal communication and his style of talking to people, I can fully understand why folks are concerned, so, I would say to the readers just be aware of your surroundings, be cautious and if (you) see him, the picture has been circulated, please call us because he’s not supposed to be here.”

Irons most recent Facebook photo, also used in campus bulletin warning students to report him if he was seen on campus grounds.

As far as preventative measures to keep incidents like this from occurring in the future, Trevis said “we’ve applied for a restraining order, we put additional officers in and around the building there, we will constantly try to keep a watch and make sure he does not violate the restraining order.”

As of Thursday, March 22, Irons was arrested again, this time for allegedly violating his restraining order.

Update: 12:38 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6. Update from Mar. 24 was moved to the bottom of page.

Update: March 24 10:24 p.m. Multiple punctuation and grammar errors were also corrected