Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Monterey County teacher accidentally fires gun in class, injuring students

Monterey County teacher accidentally fires gun in class, injuring students

It's so insane that the teacher teaching them about gun safety shoots one off and hits the ceiling.

Dennis Alexander, a reserve police officer for the Sand City Police Department and a Seaside councilman, was teaching the class Tuesday afternoon when he fired a shot into the ceiling of the classroom at Seaside High School, the Monterey Herald reports.

According to Seaside Police Chief Abdul D. Pridgen, a student was struck in the neck by debris or a fragment after the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling.

The student's father Fermin Gonzales said he understands that it was an accident but said that "somebody could have died". "It could have been very bad", Gonzales says.

Gonzales said Alexander apologized to the class for mistakenly firing his gun, however, none of the school authorities checked up on all the students post-incident to make sure they were not hurt.

Pending a complete police investigation, the California teacher was placed on administrative leave. Sand City Police Chief Brian Ferrante told KSBW that he's concerned about why Alexander, a reserve officer with the department, had a loaded gun in the classroom. The caller told the 911 operator that a weapon went off during class and that someone might be injured.

Dennis Alexander discharged seaside high school in California
Dennis Alexander discharged seaside high school in California

The incident comes amid a national debate on how to protect students from mass shootings like the one that took the lives of 17 students in Parkland, Fla., on February 14.

Teachers in California are not allowed to carry firearms inside the class, even if they have a carry permit for concealed weapons.

"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. In 2013, he was awarded Reserve Officer of the Year. "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", Diffenbaugh said.

Alexander is also being placed on leave with the local police department. "Clearly in this incident protocols were not followed".

The incident comes just one month after the Parkland, Fla., school shooting left 17 people dead and reignited a national debate about gun control laws and whether teachers should be armed in the classroom.

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