A California teacher accidentally discharged a gun during a firearms demonstration in front of a high school class on Tuesday, leaving one student with non-life-threatening injuries.
According to a statement from police, the teacher, identified as Dennis Alexander, was providing instruction on public safety at Seaside High School in Seaside, CA. Alexander, who is also a reserve police officer with the nearby Sand City police department and a Seaside city councilman, was pointing the loaded gun at the ceiling when it went off. The injured 17-year-old student’s father, Fermin Gonzales, told KSBW that his son was hurt when fragments from the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling and lodged in his neck.
“It’s the craziest thing. It could have been very bad,” Gonzales told the station. He said he found out about the incident when his son came home from school with blood on his shirt and bullet fragments in his neck.
That seemed to contradict what Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen told the Monterey County Weekly. Prigden said the student was hit in the neck by “debris or fragmentation” from something overhead, and that he was not hit by the bullet.
Sand City Police Chief Brian Ferrante also told the Weekly that Alexander received firearms training “a little less than a year ago.” Alexander has been put on administrative leave pending a department investigation, he said.
The incident comes as President Trump pushes forward on a “school safety” plan that would allow some school staff to carry guns if they undergo training and other evaluations in the wake of the shooting that left 17 dead in Parkland, FL. If anything, Tuesday’s incident shows, yet again, that even with the best of intentions—the teacher was apparently getting ready to demonstrate how to disarm someone, according to the injured student’s father—where there are guns, there are accidents.