A Seaside High School teacher accidentally fired a gun inside the classroom injuring three students Tuesday. The teacher was identified as Dennis Alexander, a reserve police officer for the Sand City Police Department and a Seaside councilman.
The incident reportedly occurred at 1:20 p.m. local time when Alexander was conducting Administration of Justice class and teaching students about gun safety. It was during this time when the professor fired a single shot from a semi-automatic handgun into the ceiling, media sources report. Most of the students attending the class were between 16 and 17 years old.
Chief of the Seaside Police Department, Abdul Pridgen, said that Alexander was pointing the handgun at the ceiling when he accidentally fired it. Shrapnel from the bullet ricochet from the ceiling and pieces of concrete fell to the ground, injuring three students. A 17-year-old boy was hit in the neck by debris or a piece of shrapnel after it ricocheted from the ceiling, according to Pridgen. The teen was not injured and classes reportedly resumed after the incident.
Alexander reportedly apologized to the class for mistakenly firing his gun, however, school authorities did not follow up to check the student’s well-being, according to media sources.
The professor was temporarily suspended as the police investigate the incident.
“The safety of your student is always our top priority, and we will continue to remain vigilant in our effort to keep them safe while they are under our care,” the Superintendent’s Office wrote in a letter to the students’ parents.
The incident took place amid a time of intense debate over whether to arm teachers in the wake of the Valentine’s Day shooting that left 17 dead and another 17 injured.
According to the father of the 17-year-old who was injured, said that Alexander wanted to make sure the firearm was not loaded when it went off. The professor was reportedly using the gun as a prop to show how to safely disarm someone.
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