Teacher accidentally fires gun, hurts 3 students

Posted at 12:02 PM, Mar 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-14 12:02:38-04

SEASIDE, CA (KSBW/CNN) - A teacher, who is also a reserve police officer, was giving a public safety lesson in the classroom on Tuesday when the gun went off. 

Three students were injured by falling debris. 

Fermin Gonzales Jr. was one of the students injured when the teacher, Dennis Alexander, was checking if the gun he brought to his administration of justice class was loaded. That's when it accidentally went off. 

The teacher has been placed on administrative leave from his teaching position at Seaside High School.

He was also placed on administrative leave at the Sand City Police Department.

"You could see like splatters on the ceiling, like, splatters of the fragments on the ceiling," Fermin said.

Some of those fragments ended up in his neck. 

"And then I look at my shirt like that, and then there's like blood on my shirt. And then I like wipe my neck kind of, and a bullet fragment comes off my neck," he said.

Fermin said Alexander excused himself for a moment, came back and apologized, but class continued. 

"I left school, to make sure the metal was out of my neck," Fermin said.

He called his dad.

"I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. I just kept saying what on the phone, 'What?'" Fermin Gonzales Sr. said. "I couldn't believe it. It's just so crazy that the teacher teaching them about gun safety shoots one off and hits the ceiling. And then hearing that he got hit was just, I mean, crazy." 

Firearms are forbidden in classrooms around the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District.

"We have to have a safe environment for our kids and clearly in this incident it was not," said PK Diffenbaugh, the school district superintendent. "Protocols were not followed." 

Alexander has been a reserve police officer for sand city for more than a decade. 

The comes at a time when the national debate about arming teachers is hitting close to home. 

"This was an incident with a trained professional," Gonzales said. "If you just give it to everybody - a teacher at the school - this could happen again and again, and it could be a lot worse."

Copyright 2018 KSBW via CNN. All rights reserved.