SEASIDE — A teacher who also serves as a reserve police officer injured three students Tuesday when he accidentally fired a handgun in a Seaside High School classroom, according to reports.
The teacher was identified as Dennis Alexander, a reserve police officer for the Sand City Police Department. Alexander was teaching a gun safety course when he fired a single shot from a semi-automatic handgun into the ceiling , the Monterey Herald and KSBW reported.
One student was hit in the neck by debris or a fragment after the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling, according to Seaside police Chief Abdul D. Pridgen. The student was not seriously injured. Pridgen said class resumed after the incident was brought under control.
The incident occurred amid intense national debate over whether school teachers should be armed in the wake of the Parkland, Fla. shooting that left at least 17 people dead.
Alexander has taught the course in the past but Pridgen said he did not know if he had ever brought a live firearm to the school before. An investigation is ongoing and Pridgen said the police department will handle the situation like any other investigation.
“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 said.
In an email to parents, the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District said, “Upon learning of the incident, our Human Resources department, school site administration and the Seaside Police Department immediately began investigating the incident, including interviewing students in the class.”
The letter also stated that the district is unable to share any other details other than Alexander has been placed on administrative leave for the duration of the on-going investigation.