clock menu more-arrow no yes

A Parkland teacher was arrested after leaving a loaded gun in a public bathroom

A homeless man found the gun and fired it.

A Parkland teacher left a loaded gun, similar to this one, in a public bathroom.
Luke Sharrett/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A chemistry teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of a shooting in February that left 17 dead, was arrested this week after he accidentally left a loaded gun in a public bathroom. A drunk, homeless man eventually found the gun and fired it; the bullet hit a wall.

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the bizarre shooting scene Sunday at the Deerfield Beach Pier near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, according to the Miami Herald.

Sean Simpson, a high school chemistry teacher in Parkland, told deputies he mistakenly left the Glock 9mm in a bathroom stall. By the time he realized what he had done, a homeless man had taken the gun and fired it, the Herald said. Simpson wrestled the gun away from him and no one was hurt.

Simpson was arrested on a misdemeanor charge for failing to safely store a firearm, and was released on bail. The school district does not plan to discipline him for the offense, according to Local 10 News.

Even though the incident did not occur on school property, the shooting confirms some of the fears about what could go wrong if teachers were to carry guns in school — that the mere presence of more firearms would increase the risk of gun violence.

The idea of arming teachers gained momentum after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in February. President Trump and the National Rifle Association pushed the idea as a way to prevent mass shootings, instead of restricting the sale of firearms.

Last month, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a gun control bill that included a provision to arm some trained school employees — but not full-time teachers. Simpson, the chemistry teacher, had said after the Parkland shooting that he was interested in training that would allow him to carry a gun on campus, though he didn’t believe it was the best way to prevent another school shooting.

It’s probably a good thing that he can’t. On Tuesday, the Broward County School Board voted unanimously against arming school staff in the district.