A Parkland chemistry professor who said he was open to the idea of arming himself after the mass shooting in high school was arrested after he left a loaded gun in a public restroom, police said.
Sean Simpson, 43, told police he had removed his personal firearm while using the restroom on Sunday at Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier, about 13 miles east of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where he taught during the week.
Simpson placed the gun on the bathroom handrail, then left it behind while washing his hands in a sink inside the barn, according to an arrest report from the Broward County Sheriff's Office
"The sink is not it would work, "the report said. "Then he came out of the bathroom and washed his hands in the main bathroom sink, and then [exited] in the bathroom, at this time the gun was still in the barn."
Less than five minutes later, Simpson remembered that his gun was in the bathroom; As he walked back to get it, he heard a single shot, police said.
In the bathroom, Simpson found another man holding his gun and snatched it, police said.
Simpson was arrested on Sunday and charged with unsafe storage of a firearm, police said. His gun, a 9mm Glock 43 pistol, had seven bullets loaded, police said.
An affidavit of arrest for Simpson noted that the public dock was frequented by families and children, especially on a weekend.
"There was a reasonable likelihood that the firearm could have ended up in the hands of a child or the discharge of the weapon could have injured another person or child," an affidavit of arrest was declared
Simpson was released with a bond of $ 250.
Police also arrested Joseph Spataro, identified as a homeless man, for trespassing and firing a gun in public.
The bullet he fired crashed into a wall and then a bushing was found in the corner of the bathroom, police said.
Spataro had "deliberately unloaded the firearm in the bathroom to verify if the firearm was loaded," said his arrest report.
The Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – one of several school attacks this year – left 17 students and staff members died and immediately shook the nationwide discussions about school safety and gun control.
The tragedy seemed to galvanize a new generation of activists, including many Parkland teenagers, in support of tighter gun control. Hundreds of thousands of protesters appeared in March for Our Lives across the country on March 24 to call for an end to armed violence.
At the other end of the spectrum, in the weeks following the Florida tragedy, President Trump and others pressed a proposal to arm schoolteachers.
A week after the shooting, Simpson, who said he had been teaching at Marjory Stoneman Douglas for 14 years, granted a long interview to MSNBC for Parkland student activists who had been attacked by conspiracy theorists right after shooting.
"They chose the wrong school to do this, because these students are going to stand up," Simpson said. "They're going to speak from their hearts, and they're not going to be white."
In that same interview, Simpson cautiously told MSNBC that he would be open to the idea of undergoing gun training at school – but would prefer to see restrictions on military-style weapons.
"I do not know if [arming teachers is] the answer, but I know that there are some of us who are willing to take the training if they offered it and it is probably another line of defense, but again, it is a complicated issue, and not I'm sure it's the answer, "Simpson said then. "I think it's easier to get these weapons out of the hands of people who are not meant to do anything but kill, they're not designed to hunt, and my personal opinion is that if you need 30 rounds to hunt something, you should look for another hobby ".
On Tuesday, the Broward School Board voted unanimously to reject a plan to staff the district's schools, including at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, under a $ 67 million program recently approved by the Florida Legislature to train and arm school staff throughout the state.
Under the new coach program Aaron Feis Guardian, named in honor of a Parkland soccer coach who was killed in the Feb. 14 shooting, some school staff in Florida could carry concealed weapons.
The members of the Broward School Board wanted the state to invest money to hire more school resource officers, the Miami Herald reported.  "Leaving $ 67 million at the table is just a parody," said school board member Robin Bartleman, according to the Herald. "We should definitely launch a campaign to persuade the governor, for those districts that do not want to arm their employees, to give us the money to keep our children safe in other ways, instead of leaving it there."  (iStock)
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