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Posted: April 15, 2018

Parkland teacher faces charges after leaving loaded gun in public restroom

Sean Simpson
Broward County Sheriff's Office
Sean Simpson

By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. —

A chemistry teacher at the Florida high school where 17 people died in a mass shooting in February faces criminal charges after leaving a loaded gun in a public restroom, WPLG reported.

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Sean Simpson, 43, who teaches science at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, left his Glock 9mm in a stall at the bathroom at the Deerfield Beach Pier on April 8, and it was later fired by a homeless man who was allegedly intoxicated, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Simpson has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Simpson was at the South Florida high school when Nikolas Cruz opened fire on Feb. 14, killing 14 students and three faculty members at the Parkland school.

Simpson told deputies that after realizing he had left the gun in the stall, he returned to get it and heard a shot. He then saw Joseph Spataro, 69, holding the gun, and Simpson took the weapon away from the man, WPLG reported.

Simpson was arrested and charged with unsafe storage of a firearm because the gun could have been found by a child at the public beach, CNN reported. The second-degree misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail. Simpson posted a $250 cash bond, WPLG reported.

Simpson declined comment to WLPG, but did say he did not believe his actions were a violation of school board policies.

Spataro was charged with trespassing and firing a weapon while intoxicated, deputies said. His attorney could not be reached for comment.

Simpson remains on the faculty at Stoneman Douglas High School and school officials are not expected to take action against him, The Miami Herald reported. Simpson said he supports the student activists fighting for gun control and traveled with them to Washington on March 24 for the March For Our Lives rally, the Herald reported.

"Safety and security remain the District's highest priorities," the Broward County School District said in a statement. "The District is aware of an incident, which occurred over the weekend at the Deerfield Beach Pier. At this juncture, no determination regarding employee discipline has been made, pending the final disposition of the charges."


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