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A man accused of attacking an elderly gym patron in Farmington Hills, Michigan — where ex-NFL and Michigan football star Braylon Edwards intervened to save the gym-goer’s life — was charged. 

Malik Ali Smith, 20, is being charged with assault with intent to murder, carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted, Fox 2 Detroit reported.

Smith attacked the 80-year-old man after an exchange of words inside the locker room at Farming Hills YMCA around 10:45 a.m. on March 1. Edwards, a Michigan Wolverines legend who was drafted third overall by the Cleveland Browns in 2005, overheard the commotion caused after the verbal tussle and stepped in just in time. 


Braylon Edwards walks

University of Michigan All-American & NFL Pro-Bowler, Braylon Edwards attends the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy Golf Tournament presented by Tom Gores & Platinum Equity held at Detroit Golf Club at Detroit Golf Club on August 26, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Scott Legato/Getty Images)

“I walk into the locker room after work, and basically, I hear about four rows behind me arguing about music and how it was being played too loud,” Edwards explained. “So, I’m not paying attention, and I was just minding my business.

“The noise escalates, and then you can hear some pushing and shoving, so you know what fighting sounds like, but once I hear a thud, that’s when I got up and turned around.”


Edwards revealed to WDIV-TV that authorities found out, if he didn’t step in, the elderly man may have died. He is currently in the hospital in critical condition.

“I see the guy for what I was thinking was reaching for a phone underneath the victim, grabs the back of the victim’s head by the hair, and he was about to slam it down on the counter,” Edwards said.

Braylon Edwards runs on field

Braylon Edwards #17 of the New York Jets during the first practice in Metlife Stadium on June 16, 2010 at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images)

“I didn’t know it was that serious. I mean, the victim probably had a serious concussion by nature, but it wasn’t until I talked to the detective, Jacobs down in Farmington, who told me that if I didn’t step in, but at the end of the day that’s what you do.”

Smith allegedly fled the YMCA, but police were able to arrest him nearby. They made note of the Good Samaritan in Edwards. 

“This was a vicious, senseless attack,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said, via Fox 2 Detroit. “I commend the witness who intervened, and we will seek justice for this victim.”

Mark Ali Smith booking photo

Mark Ali Smith was charged in an assault at a Michigan YMCA. (Oakland County Sheriff’s Office)


Smith is being held on $250,000 bond and has a probable cause conference for March 13 at 1:30 p.m. 


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