MBK Academy News10 Video
STOCKTON, CA - The first time Marlon Gayle and Pat Callahan encountered each other the circumstances couldn't have been more different. Gayle was a high school kid with an attitude and a toy gun in his car.
Callahan was an off-duty cop, who so annoyed Gayle with a honk, Gayle pointed that toy gun at him.
Monday night in Stockton, the two men talked to a group of youths about that day's events, nearly 20 years ago, and how their lives have changed.
Gayle was on his way to Bear Creek HIgh School. Callahan was in the car behind him. They were at a stop light and when the light turned green but Gayle was slow to move, Callahan honked and Gayle pointed that toy gun. He didn't know Callahan had a real gun and would have used it if he saw the toy gun a second time.
"He made a decision to do one bad thing. The second thing he did was put the gun down. That's what saved his life. If the gun came up a second time I was going to fire," said Callahan.
"People think 'what about the other guy.' They find someone to blame. I knew it was me. I did something stupid. It woke me up. I said I won't become a statistic. I'm going to college and I'll do something with my life," said Gayle.
Gayle now helps run a program for young men of color between the ages of 14 and 18 titled 'My Brothers Keeper Academy.' Those teens are referred to the program by teachers, parents, churches, and sometimes probation officers. Gayle had Callahan also speak to the group that met Monday.
"This man took a mistake and made a change in his life and look at him now. I'm proud of this guy, and you should be too," said Callahan.
ABC10 news brought the two men together in 2011 for the first time since that incident 15 years prior. That day they developed the idea of speaking as a team, and Monday they came together for that effort.
Gayle has written a book about that event and his life's path called 'Turning Point.' He returned to Bear Creek High as an assistant principal, after being expelled years earlier. He currently works as an administrator at Salida Middle School.