A teacher who is also a reserve cop accidentally discharged his gun on Tuesday while teaching a public safety class at a high school in California.
A bullet hit the ceiling of Seaside High School in Monterey County, and fragments from the shot struck one male student in the neck. Two others suffered minor injuries as well, according to the Seaside Police Department.
Dennis Alexander, a teacher and a reserve cop from the nearby Sand City Police Department, has been placed on leave at both the school and the department pending an investigation, local outlet KSBW reported. Alexander, also a Seaside city council member, reportedly apologized for the incident.
An investigation into the incident is still ongoing and some students still need to be interviewed, Cmdr. Judy Veloz of the Seaside police told HuffPost.
Alexander’s own department will also investigate the matter, Sand City Police Chief Brian Ferrante confirmed in an email to HuffPost.
“I have concerns about why he was displaying a loaded firearm in a classroom,” Ferrante told KSBW separately. “We will be looking into that.”
Fermin Gonzales, whose son was injured, said the school did not inform him of the incident. He discovered what had happened when his 17-year-old came home with blood on his shirt and bullet fragments in his neck. He said the teen told him Alexander pointed the gun at the ceiling and said he was going to make sure it wasn’t loaded. Then it went off.
“It could have been very bad,” Gonzales told KSBW.
The teen told a local NBC station that he laughed when his friends first told him he had been injured. But then he spotted the blood on his shirt and wiped his neck.
Daniel Diffenbaugh, superintendent of the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, told the Monterey County Weekly that Alexander was not authorized to have his firearm on campus.
“I think a lot of questions are on parents’ minds are, why a teacher would be pointing a loaded firearm at the ceiling in front of students,” Diffenbaugh said.
Alexander’s gun was not the only one to go off at a school on Tuesday. A resource officer accidentally discharged his weapon at a middle school in Alexandria, Virginia. No one was hurt.
Both incidents unfolded just a day before students across the nation staged a walkout to protest campus gun violence.