Armed Teacher Injures Students When Handgun Accidentally Fires During Gun Safety Class

Seaside California is seen here in this undated Google Maps image

A teacher accidentally discharged a firearm while teaching a public safety class, injuring one student at a Northern California school on Tuesday, police said.

Dennis Alexander, who is Seaside City's mayor pro tem and a reserve officer with the Sand City Police Department, was teaching a lesson at Seaside High School in Seaside, California when he pointed his gun into the ceiling and accidentally fired it, said Abdul Pridgen, the city's police chief.

The teacher, Dennis Alexander, says he pulled the trigger because he wanted to make sure the gun wasn't loaded, but bullets fired off, pieces of the ceiling fell down, and a bullet fragment also came down, lodging into a 17-year-old student's neck.

Three students were injured by debris, including a 17-year-old whose father told KSBW-TV his son sustained moderate injuries when bullet fragments lodged in his neck.

The teacher has since been placed on administration leave from the school and the Sand City Police Department. "It could have been very bad", Gonzales said, adding that the teacher was about to demonstrate how to disarm a person.

'He's shaken up, but he's going to be OK, Gonzales said.

Classes at the school resumed shortly after the unfortunate incident.

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It's unclear why the teacher was displaying the firearm.

Teachers are legally not allowed to have firearms in California classrooms, even if they have a permit. The safety of your student is always our top priority, and we will continue to remain vigilant in our efforts to keep them safe while they are under our care'.

As the police investigate the incident, Alexander has been temporarily suspended by the school.

"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 told the Mercury News.

According to The Californian, guns and other weapons are not allowed on the school's campus but there are exceptions for law enforcement.

The school district sent out a letter to parents saying the students are all expected to be OK and that the teacher is facing disciplinary action. "Clearly in this incident protocols were not followed".

He was placed on administrative at Seaside High School and the police force as the investigation is conducted. In 2013, he was awarded Reserve Officer of the Year.

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