The Herald, Sharon, PA Published Wednesday Feb. 23, 2000


Ex-Tiger fights for life after Temple stabbing

By Ed Farrell
Herald Sports Writer

As a Sharon High School running back, Elmarko Jackson was a fighter on the football field. Today, the 21-year-old Temple University student is fighting for his life.

Jackson remained in critical but stable condition Tuesday evening in the intensive care unit of Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, recovering from being stabbed several times in the neck, chest and arm outside a Temple dormitory at about 6 p.m. Monday.

Police said Tuesday they are hoping to interview Jackson soon. They said he had been seen arguing with a man believed to be another student.

There might have been two arguments between the two men, one outside a nearby beauty parlor and one outside the dormitory, police said.

A campus policeman saw at least part of the incident, city police Capt. Thomas Quinn said. “He apparently sees a scuffle ... but he’s quite a distance away and he doesn’t think too much of it and then there is the report of a stabbing,” Quinn said.

While police continued investigating, Jackson’s former coach, Sharon’s Jim Wildman, took a whirlwind 15-hour trip to Philadelphia Tuesday with Jackson’s 16-year-old brother, Marlin. Although hospital personnel attempted to control the crush of visitors to Jackson’s room, Wildman said, the football player’s mother Margaret, his sisters and other family members were by his side, as were Temple head football coach Bobby Wallace and numerous players.

“It was a very emotional time,’’ Wildman said. “Marko was well liked by all of his teammates because of his work ethic.’’

Because Jackson was heavily sedated, Wildman said he was unable to talk to the player he coached for two seasons.

“I can tell you this: After talking to the doctor, nurses, the detective investigating the case, his assistant, the (Jackson) family ... that he knew his attacker,’’ Wildman said. “There was not a scuffle; there were no bruises, scuff marks or scratches on his hands. It was a surprise-type thing.

“The speculation was that there was an argument over $50, and that’s all I ascertained, but it was not a robbery,’’ Wildman said.

Wildman said he was told the most critical injury is a stab wound to the heart. “He’s lost an enormous amount of blood and body fluids,’’ Wildman said. “He’s on a number of IVs (intravenous tubes) and a respirator. They (doctors and hospital personnel) told us it’s a matter of how he reacts to the (blood) transfusion, antibiotics, trauma, etc.’’ “The next 48 to 72 hours are critical,’’ Wildman said.

Temple President Peter J. Liacouras credited two campus policemen — Kenneth McGuire and Rodney Hill —with saving Jackson’s life because they took him to the hospital in their patrol car in stead of waiting for an ambulance.

Wildman said he believes Jackson’s youth and exceptional physical condition also helped him survive.

Prior to his senior year at Sharon High, Jackson was sent to Glen Mills, a school in eastern Pennsylvania for court-adjudicated youth.

But, Wildman said, since Jackson started at Temple he remained in touch with his Sharon coach. Wildman said he attended some of Jackson’s games in Pittsburgh and Toledo, Ohio. Wildman said he has seen a change for the better in his former protege.

“A lot of people who knew Marko when he was a sophomore and junior (at Sharon) would say this to Marko and admit it: ‘He was a kid who lacked social skills because of the environment he grew up in,’ ” Wildman said.

“When we went to the Pitt-Temple game, the thing that was most impressive was when we met before the game how personable he was, how talkative, how much personality he showed in our conversation, whereas six years ago when he was a junior in high school, all you’d get would be one- and two-word answers.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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