Teacher accidentally fires gun during safety lecture at Monterey County high school, injuring 3 students

Teacher accidentally fires gun during safety lecture at Monterey County high school, injuring 3 students
A teacher accidentally fired a gun in a classroom at Seaside High School in Seaside, Calif., on Tuesday. (L.A. Times)

A teacher at a Monterey County high school accidentally fired a gun into the ceiling of a classroom Tuesday afternoon during a lecture on "public safety awareness," injuring three students, authorities said.

Dennis Alexander, who also serves as a reserve police officer with Sand City and is on the Seaside City Council, "was attempting to ensure a weapon was safe and free of any bullets" when he pointed it toward the ceiling and inadvertently fired a round, Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen said Wednesday.


Officers were called to Seaside High School about 1:20 p.m.

Three students, 16 and 17 years old, sustained minor injuries — cuts and scrapes — after they were struck by bullet fragments or ceiling debris, Pridgen said. Seaside police said in a news release that no one was "seriously injured."

One student had a cut near his eye, while another had a cut on his neck. A third student had redness on her arm.

In at least one case, the student's parents took the teen to a hospital. School resumed after the incident.

Alexander, who Pridgen said has taught this safety class in the past, did not respond to a request for comment.

It's unclear if he will face charges in the incident. Pridgen said detectives will present the results of their investigation to the Monterey County district attorney's office, which will decide if charges are appropriate.

The incident came a day before tens of thousands of students across the country staged a historic national walkout to push political leaders to take action to prevent gun violence on and off campuses. The walkout came a month after a gunman stormed a Parkland, Fla., school and killed 17 people.

Twitter: @AleneTchek


March 14, 9:30 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from the Seaside police chief.

This article was originally published on March 13 at 10:30 p.m.