California teacher injures three pupils by accidentally firing gun in classroom

A teacher in California has reportedly accidentally fired a gun in a classroom, injuring three children.

Police were called to Seaside High School on Tuesday after Dennis Alexander, who was leading a class on gun safety, fired a semi-automatic weapon at the ceiling, local press reported.

The incident comes amid fierce debate about gun regulation following a shooting at a Florida High School in which 17 people were killed.

Survivors of the massacre have pressed for stricter gun control measures, but Donald Trump has suggested arming teachers.

At Seaside High School, one 17-year-old student was hit in the neck by debris falling from the ceiling or by bullet fragments, Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen said.

None of the students were seriously injured and lessons resumed after the incident, according to police.

Seaside High School in California: Google
Seaside High School in California: Google

Mr Alexander is also a councilman and reserve police officer – a typically unpaid, part-time role – for the Sand City Police Department. An investigation into the event has opened and the force is considering whether a crime was committed.

“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,” Mr Pridgen told the Monterey County Herald.

Guns are banned on school premises, but there are exceptions for member of law enforcement, Mr Pridgen said.

The father of the 17-year-old boy who was injured told KSBW Mr Alexander was planning to use the gun to demonstrate of how to disarm someone.

He had just told pupils he wanted to make sure the weapon was not loaded when he inadvertently fired it.

“It’s the craziest thing. It could have been very bad,” he said.

The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District sent an email to the parents saying: “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.”

Mr Alexander has been suspended while officials investigate, the letter said.

After Mr Trump indicated he would legislate to introduce arming teachers, his administration has left the issue of arming teachers up to states and local communities.

The President also backed away from raising the age limit to buy assault-style weapons, saying there was “not much political support” for the policy.

The NRA, which spent more than $11m (£7.91m) supporting Mr Trump during the 2016 election, announced it was suing the state of Florida last week over a new gun law signed by Republican Governor Rick Scott, banning the purchase of firearms by anyone under the age of 21, claiming it was unconstitutional.

The law also allows the arming and training of school staff and introduced a three-day waiting period on all gun sales and a ban on bump stocks, a device that enables semi-automatic rifles to fire hundreds of rounds a minute.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for former student, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder over the shooting.