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Seaside High School, Seaside, Calif.

Former teacher won't face charges for shooting gun in classroom

Seaside (Calif.) High School teacher Dennis Alexander resigned in April after his weapon accidentally discharged while he was delivering a lesson on gun safety.

A California high school teacher who fired his gun during a class in March will not face criminal charges in connection with the incident, prosecutors say.

The Monterey County District Attorney announced in a news release that Dennis Alexander, who taught at Seaside High School in Seaside, Calif., "did not commit a criminal offense for
discharging a firearm in a classroom."

District Attorney Dean D. Flippo concluded that Alexander's discharge of his gun in his classroom on March 13 was accidental.

"No California law makes that act a crime," Flippo says.

Alexander, who also was a reserve police officer in Sand City, Calif., was teaching a class called "Public Safety Fundamentals" when the gun discharged and knocked pieces of the ceiling to the ground.

Authorities reported that three students sustained minor injuries from debris or bullet fragments.

Alexander resigned from his teaching position in April.

Flippo says Alexander will be charged with an infraction offense for leaving a handgun in an unattended vehicle.

"Penal Code section 25140 makes it an infraction to leave a handgun in an unattended vehicle, if it is not locked in a trunk or center console, or locked in a container out of plain view," Flippo's news release stated.

In announcing the results of the investigation, Flippo pointed out that his office's review "did not address dangerousness, irresponsibility, or poor judgment."

The evidence showed that Alexander was demonstrating gun safety procedures to his class, when he pointed the gun toward the ceiling and pulled the trigger to ensure no round was in the chamber, prosecutors say. He was mistaken, and the gun discharged. All witnesses described the discharge as accidental.

Flippo says he considered several statutes that potentially applied to the incident, but the evidence did not support criminal prosecution.


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