PHOTO: Dennis Alexander was teaching a course about public safety for his Administration of Justice class when his gun went off at 1:20 p.m. - KSBW pic.twitter.com/zHqN19slqr— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 13, 2018
One month after the deadly Valentine’s Day Florida school massacre, which claimed 17 innocent lives, a teacher from Seaside High School, California, accidentally fired a gun during a safety class on Tuesday.
The shooting occurred amid intense national debate over whether to arm teachers across the nation or come up with more sensible gun laws, which allowed the 19-year-old school Florida shooter, Nikolas Cruz, to legally purchase a military-style rifle.
The teacher, who also served as a reserve police officer, has been identified as Dennis Alexander. The incident, ironically, occurred during a lesson on public safety in a class called Administration of Justice.
Alexander's gun went off by a fluke. A single shot was fired from a semi-automatic handgun into the ceiling, according to the Seaside Police Department.
Seaside police Chief Abdul D. Pridgen said the bullet hit a 17-year-old student in the neck after it ricocheted off the classroom ceiling.
Fortunately, the student did not sustain any serious injury, the student's father, Fermin Gonzales, said.
Gonzales claimed Alexander told his class he wanted to be sure that his gun wasn’t loaded.
“It's the craziest thing. It could have been very bad,” Gonzales said.
“He's shaken up, but he's going to be OK. I'm just pretty upset that no one told us anything and we had to call the police ourselves to report it.”
Classes at the school resumed shortly after the unfortunate incident. The teacher reportedly apologized to the stunned group of students.
Alexander was awarded Reserve Office of the Year in 2013 and is also a Seaside City Council member and Red Cross volunteer.
Sand City police Chief Brian Ferrante described the teacher’s track record as “positive and professional,” however, he wondered why he brought a loaded gun in a classroom full of students.
“I have concerns about why he (Alexander) was displaying a loaded firearm in a classroom. We will be looking into that,” Ferrante said.
“We’re looking into any violation of city ordinance or the penal code and we’ll determine whether or not there are any applicable charges,” Pridgen postulated.
Even with a permit, teachers across California are not allowed to carry firearms.
"I think a lot of questions on parents' minds are, why a teacher would be pointing a loaded firearm at the ceiling in front of students," Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh said, who also sent out a letter to the parents, explaining the situation to them. "Clearly in this incident protocols were not followed."
Alexander has been placed on administrative leave as the officials look into the incident.
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